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Is Depression a Disability? Eligibility, Applying and More

Sometimes, depression is so bad that it makes it impossible to function at work. Even though the ADA ensures access to assistance programs, not all people who suffer from depression are eligible for disability payments. What you need to know about getting financial aid if you or a loved one is now unable to hold down a job due to depression is provided below.

Is Depression A Disability? Depression Disability

Can You Get Disability For Depression? Disability For Depression

Does Depression Count As A Disability? According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, depression qualifies as a mental disability (ADA), so depression is a disability. It’s a serious mood illness that has been shown to interfere with daily tasks, including your capacity to work.

Does Depression Qualify For Disability? Sometimes, depression is so bad that it makes it impossible to function at work. Even though the ADA ensures access to assistance programs, not all people who suffer from depression are eligible for disability payments.

What you need to know about getting financial aid if you or a loved one is now unable to hold down a job due to depression is provided below.

Is Major Depressive Disorder A Disability?

One of the most prevalent mental health diseases in the US is clinical depression. If you have a combination of the following symptoms on the majority of days for at least two weeks, your physician might determine that you are depressed:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Hopelessness and emptiness
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Appetite changes
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Memory problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Is Depression A Mental Disability? Even with treatment, depression may make it difficult to work. This helps to explain why, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this mental health problem continues to be the primary cause of impairment for people between the ages of 15 and 44.

Although it can happen at any time, the median age at which depression starts is 32. When you first get a diagnosis, you can be starting your first job or in the middle of your career.

Depression that is resistant to therapy is seen as a handicap. It does not imply that you immediately qualify for disability benefits, such as financial aid and health insurance.

Is Depression A Disability Under ADA? According to the ADA, a disability must “substantially impair” at least one aspect of one’s ability to live in order to qualify for help from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

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Depression Fact Sheet

Depression Overview

Depression is a group of illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder that are connected to mood elevation or depression

Types of Depression

Clinical Depression: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.

Persistent depressive disorder: A mild but long-term form of depression.

Bipolar disorder: A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Bipolar II disorder:  A type of bipolar disorder characterized by depressive and hypomanic episodes.

Postpartum depression: Depression that occurs after childbirth.

Depression Treatments

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Depression Statistics

One of the most prevalent mental diseases in the US is major depression. Some people who have serious depression may experience substantial impairments that impede or restrict their capacity to engage in important life activities.

21 million

An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.4% of all U.S. adults.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females (10.5%) compared to males (6.2%).

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (17.0%).

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

There are two types of depression: major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia.
Is Depression Considered A Disability? There are two types of depression: major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia.

What Is Major Depression Disorder? Disability For Depression And Anxiety

Is Major Depression A Disability? Clinical depression, often known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a prevalent mood condition that can affect anyone. Its most common symptom is a protracted state of sorrow or irritation.

Is Severe Depression A Disability? Sadness is a normal emotion that all people experience. When a loved one dies or when they are dealing with a difficult life event like a divorce or a serious illness, people may feel sad or melancholy.

These emotions typically pass quickly. Someone may have a mood disorder like major depressive disorder if they consistently and intensely feel depressed for long periods of time (MDD).

Clinical depression, another name for MDD, is a serious illness that can have an impact on many aspects of your life. It affects a variety of physiological processes, including food and sleep, as well as mood and behavior.

One of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the US is MDD. According to data, more than 8.4% of adults in the United States had a severe depressive episode in 2020.

Some MDD patients never receive treatment. With treatment, the majority of individuals with the illness can learn how to manage and function. People with MDD can manage their symptoms and receive effective treatment through medications, psychotherapy, and other techniques.

Causes Of Major Depressive Disorder: Depression As A Disability

It is unknown what causes MDD specifically. However, a number of things can make you more likely to get the illness. Stress and genetic predispositions to depression can alter brain chemistry and impair your capacity to control your mood.

The development of MDD might also be influenced by changes in the hormone balance. MDD can also be brought on by:

  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Certain medical conditions, such as cancer or hypothyroidism
  • Particular types of medications, including steroids
  • Abuse during childhood

Major Depressive Disorder DiagnosisDisability For Anxiety And Depression

Your doctor may determine a diagnosis of depression based on:

  • Exam of the body. Your physician might do a physical examination and inquire about your health. Sometimes a physical health issue may be the underlying cause of depression.
  • Lab testing. For instance, your doctor might check your thyroid to see if it is functioning properly or perform a blood test called a complete blood count.
  • Psychiatric assessment. Your mental health expert will inquire about your signs, ideas, emotions, and patterns of behavior. To assist in addressing these inquiries, you might be requested to complete a questionnaire.
  • DSM-5. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) issued by the American Psychiatric Association may be used by your mental health provider to determine whether you meet the criteria for depression.
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Can I Get Disability For Anxiety And Depression? Financial Assistance Programs if you’re Unable to Work: Anxiety And Depression Disability

In the event that depression prevents you from working, you can be eligible for assistance. For those with disabilities who are unable to work, the SSA offers two financial aid programs.

How To Get Short-Term Disability Approved For Anxiety And Depression? Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

If depression has interfered with your capacity to work, SSDI is the first program you might think about. For the program to consider you, you must:

  • Prove you haven’t been able to work for at least 12 months
  • Have paid Social Security through paycheck deductions for the last 5 out of 10 years

Disability Benefits For Depression: Your particular contributions to the Social Security system during your working years determine the precise SSDI compensation you get. As of 2014, SSDI recipients received $1,165 monthly on average.

Is Anxiety And Depression A Disability? Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

In addition to SSDI, you can be eligible for SSI benefits. If you are low on both income and assets, this program is meant to help. To be eligible, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • A proven inability to work due to depression that’s documented by a medical professional
  • Low income based on where you live
  • Fewer than $2,000 in assets, excluding your home, car, burial savings, and wedding rings
  • If you’re married, your spouse must also have a low income, and you can’t have more than a combined total of $3,000 in assets

How Much Does Disability Pay For Depression? As of 2015, the typical monthly payment for federal SSI disability benefits is $733 for single people and $1,100 for married couples. However, a number of variables affect this sum. In addition to your SSI, you can also be qualified for state benefits.

For SSI benefits, as opposed to SSDI, you are not required to have contributed to the Social Security system with prior wages.

Is Depression And Anxiety A Disability? Medicaid

Medicaid is a federal assistance program that offers affordable medical care to low-income individuals. It applies to disabled individuals who are qualified for other government financial aid.

2 years of receiving SSDI entitles you to Medicare health insurance benefits. If you are eligible for SSI payments and have been for at least one month, you may also apply for Medicaid health insurance coverage.

How To Win Disability Hearing For Depression?

1. Get Specialized Mental Health Care for Your Mental Illness

If the claimant is receiving regular medical care from a mental health treatment source that specializes in their condition, Administrative Law Judges who adjudicate social security disability claims at the hearing appeal level are more likely to find a medical or mental illness to be disabling. Both mental health specialists like psychologists and psychiatrists as well as family doctors or internists can diagnose mental illness. In the last 20 years, SSRI drugs like Prozac and Zoloft have become widely accessible and are frequently used by general practitioners to treat patients with mental illness.

2. Comply With Prescribed Medical Treatment

According to social security rules, a claim might be rejected if the applicant doesn’t adhere to the recommended medical care. This is crucial for mental disease disability claims because therapies like Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (DTMS), talk therapy, counseling, and even medication are beneficial in at least reducing the intensity of mental illness symptoms.

The major form of treatment for mental problems continues to be pharmaceuticals like SSRIs. Drugs can be pricey and can have unfavorable side effects. Depressed people may need to try several different medications before discovering those that work because many of the newer treatments take some time to show any advantages.

These claims frequently give up when drugs are not initially effective or have side effects because depressed people are by their own nature easily discouraged. An administrative law court will take your decision to stop taking drug therapy negatively since there are now so many different psychotropic medications available for the treatment of depression, and more are being developed all the time.

3. Depression And Anxiety Disability: Get Doctor’s Support

Any claim for social security disability payments must have medical support. I strongly recommend reading my in-depth post on how to get your doctor’s assistance.

Due to the importance of the scope and severity of symptoms in a mental illness disability claim, doctor support may be even more crucial than in other disability cases.

4. No Substance Abuse

Abuse of drugs is detrimental to a disability case. It is particularly detrimental to a disability claim based on a mental disorder. Unfortunately, it happens frequently for people who have mental illnesses to start abusing drugs or alcohol in an attempt to “self-medicate”. However, the fact that you might use drugs to “self-medicate” won’t lessen the harm that drug addiction will bring to your claim for disability based on a mental condition.

Our mental health is impaired by drugs and alcohol. Alcohol has been demonstrated to make the symptoms of mental illness worse. Many ALJs assume that drugs and alcohol lessen the effectiveness of prescriptions, despite the lack of compelling evidence to support this. They contend that if the depressed claimant who abuses medication went back to work, they wouldn’t need the drink and drugs.

It goes without saying that the depressed individual applying for disability payments needs to cease abusing drugs. That may appear to be a very challenging assignment to many. You should be aware though that perfection is not necessary. However, you must sincerely endeavor to maintain sobriety.

5. Demonstrable Evidence of Profound Mental Illness Symptoms

Since almost everyone has experienced depression or other psychological upheaval and pain at some point in their lives, the disability argument for a mental disease is distinctive in this regard. Many of us carry mild depression that detracts from our joy in life but does not prevent us from functioning. This is untrue, for instance, in the case of a mental handicap based on schizophrenia, where very few of us have ever had a psychotic break.

In order to obtain disability benefits for depression, it is crucial to understand the scope and intensity of the mental disorder symptoms.

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How To Get Disability For Depression? Disability Depression

Depression As Disability: You can be eligible for disability compensation for depression if you meet the above requirements. Applying as soon as you can is crucial. SSDI and SSI benefits may not be received for several months.

Direct application is made at the SSA office nearest you. You could decide to work with depression disability lawyers to help you create and submit your application. Just be aware that your legal representation will then receive payment in the form of a portion of your benefits. You can also search for a disability function report example answers for depression.

Your application for disability payments may not be decided for up to six months. If your application is accepted, you will get paid backward from the day you submitted it.

Treatments For Major Depressive Disorder: Psychotherapy and medication are frequently used to treat MDD.
Is Depression Disability? In the event that depression prevents you from working, you can be eligible for assistance.

The SSA rejects a large number of disability benefits applicants. You may challenge the judgment in court if this occurs to you. Obtaining a hearing may take up to two years. You might think about getting assistance from an attorney during this time.

Short Term Disability For Depression: Major Depressive Disorder Disability

Can You Get Short Term Disability For Depression? A crucial component of wellness is taking care of your mental health. If a sickness or injury prevents you from working for a while, having a short-term disability insurance plan in place can help. While some short-term disability plans do not cover mental illness, they can still be helpful if you need a temporary break due to something else.

You can be eligible for short-term disability compensation for mental health in particular circumstances. This is dependent on the business and the package you select. Although Aflac does not currently provide short-term assistance for mental illness, we are working on a solution that will aid consumers who are looking for mental health coverage.

Can You Get Disability For Anxiety And Depression? Depression And Disability

Clinical depression is one of the ailments that may be more likely to be covered. The specific mental illnesses eligible for short-term disability coverage vary greatly from company to company. This is due to the fact that clinical depression might become incapacitating and make it challenging to carry out basic living functions like getting out of bed and doing daily duties or even merely taking a shower.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, substance abuse, and anxiety can all have an effect on a person’s capacity to work and may make them eligible for benefits. The extent of coverage generally relies on the advantages offered by each organization.

What Is The VA Disability Rating For Depression And Anxiety?

In general, there are three fundamental components to a service connection. Veterans must, first and foremost, have a current diagnosis for the illness (i.e., depression, anxiety). Veterans must next provide proof of an incident, accident, or illness that occurred while they were serving.

Veterans must also present a medical nexus connecting their current, diagnosed ailment to the incident that occurred while they were serving. Even though depression and anxiety are frequently identified among veterans, they must still show that their service-related experiences are to blame for these illnesses.

Veterans should note that they do not require a “stressor” (i.e., a traumatic event). Instead, establishing a service link for post-traumatic stress disorder just requires proof of an in-service stressor (PTSD). Veterans who claim to have depression or anxiety may cite psychiatric problems that started during or right after service and are still present now.

0% Depression VA Disability Rating

Only extremely minor psychopathology presentations receive a 0% rating. If VA gives a veteran a depression or anxiety score of 0, it means that although the veteran has a qualifying diagnosis, the symptoms do not limit their ability to function or necessitate the use of medicine. Notably, a veteran will not get monthly compensation for a condition for which they have a 0% disability rating.

10% VA Disability Depression

A 10% disability grade also corresponds to a milder form of anxiety or depression. Veterans may suffer brief spikes in stress that have a modest negative impact on their ability to function in social and professional settings. The disorder can be treated with medicine, but it does not significantly hinder functioning.

30% VA Disability Rating For Depression

For depression and anxiety, the 30 percent rating threshold is also intended to signify mild symptomatology. In this instance, “occasional decline in job efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to complete occupational activities” may indicate that the veteran is beginning to regularly miss work owing to a lack of desire brought on by a mental health problem.

Their anxiety and/or depression do not entirely exclude individuals from functioning and succeeding in a work environment, though. They may also occasionally isolate themselves as a result of their worry and low mood. They can still keep up their interactions with other people, though. When a veteran exhibits modest, sporadic signs of depression and anxiety, a 30 percent VA disability rating is generally given to these conditions.

50% VA Disability Rating For Major Depression And Anxiety

The 50 percent rating criterion calls for an increase in the symptomatology’s frequency, duration, and severity. Furthermore, this criterion includes a number of other symptoms that were not included in lesser grades. Veterans who earn a 50% rating for sadness and/or anxiety are probably starting to show more obvious cognitive deficiencies, such as trouble paying attention to directions or making choices that differ from past behavior.

Additionally, some of the physiological symptoms of mood-related symptomatology, including a flattened affect, may start to emerge. In other words, veterans who are depressed may speak monotonously and show no facial expressions. The level of social and vocational impairment generally rises with a 50 percent rating. Here, the aforementioned symptoms result in a decline in the ability of veterans to effectively accomplish job-related duties.

70% Depression Va Disability

For depression and anxiety, the 70% disability rating criterion is the most inclusive because it encompasses a wide range of symptoms, including the development of symptoms reported in lower disability ratings. All of the symptoms listed in the 50 percent rating, but with greater frequency, length, and intensity, may be experienced by a veteran who earns a 70 percent rating for depression and/or anxiety.

Here, the veteran is virtually always experiencing terror or sadness, which impairs their capacity for social interaction. The veteran may also struggle with emotional regulation, which can result in violent outbursts or clashes with others. The veteran’s incapacity to maintain employment or finish coursework for school may serve as a sign of the severity of their social and occupational impairment.

How To Get 100 Va Disability For Depression?

Because it requires a veteran’s symptoms to be so severe that they are completely handicapped and unable to function in daily life, the 100 percent rating is frequently challenging to get through VA. Despite the substantial level of impairment associated with the symptoms indicated in the 70 percent rating criterion, the increase to 100 percent is still significant. When compared to the evaluation standards for smaller percentages, cognitive and emotional performance frequently suffers significantly.

Importantly, this deterioration has a completely negative impact on both a veteran’s personal and professional lives. A veteran may experience occasional incapacity to do activities of daily life, such as feeling too down to get out of bed, take a shower, or put on clothes.

Suicide attempts and self-harming activities are associated with a rating of 100 percent. A 100% rating for depression and/or anxiety also includes homicidal ideation, in which a veteran may have ideas of harming others, in addition to thoughts and impulses toward self-harm. These signs and actions all point to the greatest degree of impairment that the 100 percent rating criterion can detect.

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We Level Up Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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Is Depression A Disability? FAQs

  1. How Long Can You Be On Disability For Depression?

    As long as your depression keeps you from working, you may continue to collect disability benefits. If your mental health becomes better and you are able to go back to work, you can lose your eligibility for disability benefits.

  2. Can You Get Disability For Depression And Anxiety? Is Anxiety And Depression Considered A Disability?

    You can qualify for social security disability benefits if your anxiety or depression symptoms make it impossible for you to work a full-time job.

  3. Can You Go On Disability For Depression?

    Can You Get On Disability For Depression? Yes. Depression is a sort of mental illness that can affect your energy level, mood, thoughts, and feelings as well as your weight, sleeping patterns, and capacity to function. You may be qualified for SSDI and SSI benefits from the Social Security Administration if your depression prevents you from working.

  4. Is Postpartum Depression A Disability?

    Consider requesting disability benefits if your doctor has diagnosed you with postpartum depression and it is preventing you from working. Having concrete medical data that supports your claim and demonstrates the seriousness of the ailment is essential for a successful claim. Your claim may benefit from the assistance of a disability attorney due to the complexities of postpartum depression disability claims.

  5. Is Bipolar Depression A Disability?

    The SSA and ADA both recognize bipolar disorder as a disability. You are then entitled to further legal protections and benefits. Consult your doctor to begin the process. To convince the government that bipolar disease interferes with your ability to work, you will need to produce documentation.

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