There is a broad range of conditions that qualify for social security disability (SSD), and not all of these conditions are physical. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Unlike the usual short-lived emotional responses to daily life challenges, moderate to severe depression is typically long-lasting and is a severe medical condition.

People living with depression often experience long periods of gloom that cause them to function poorly at their job, schooling, or interpersonal relationships. At its very worst, depression can lead to self-harm or suicide.

If you are unable to work because you’ve been struggling with depression for a year or more, you might be eligible to receive financial assistance from the government. Several mental health conditions qualify for SSD, including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder and depression.

Are you eligible to receive benefits?

If your depression is interfering with your ability to work, you may be eligible to receive SSD. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), you must be experiencing at least five of the following symptoms to qualify for SSD for depression:

  • Depressed moods
  • Sleeping issues
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in most activities
  • Issues with concentration
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Significant changes to your weight or appetite

In addition to these symptoms, applicants also need to meet at least one of the following criteria to qualify:

  • You experience problems or limitations in at least two of these areas: maintaining focus, processing information, interacting with others or caring for yourself.
  • You have documentation showing your depression is what the SSA considers severe and persistent – that is, you’ve been suffering from the condition and receiving treatment for at least two years. You may also experience difficulty adapting to change or new demands in your work routine.

Once you are approved to receive disability for your depression, you can usually remain on it for as long as your depression keeps you from working. If depression is standing in the way of your ability to work or take care of yourself, SSD may be able to provide you with the financial assistance you deserve.