Does Clinical Depression Qualify For SSD?

“Depression” is a word that gets thrown around a lot in everyday life. People say they are depressed in a variety of situations — when their grandmother dies, when their favorite TV show gets cancelled, when their day goes badly at work. In situations like these, it’s perfectly human to feel negative emotions like grief, despair, or loneliness. But these situations aren’t exactly “depression” either. In most cases, these negative feelings go away with time and self-care. Actual depression, on the other hand, doesn’t go away.

What Is Clinical Depression?

Clinical depression, also called major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness. There are a few different types of depression, some of which pertain to specific situations. For example, prenatal and post-partum depression specifically affect women during and after pregnancy, respectively. Bipolar disorder, which causes people to feel incredible highs and lows, also sometimes falls under the umbrella of depression, because it can cause depressive episodes.


Since it takes so many different shapes, the symptoms for depression vary from person to person. Common symptoms, though, include:

  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Less energy
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Persistent aches, like headaches or digestive issues
  • Sad, anxious, or empty feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide

Clinical depression carries a very high risk of suicide. Over 90% of people who die via suicide suffer from clinical depression or similar disorders. People between the ages of 10 and 34 tend to have the highest risk of suicide. This is why it is incredibly important that depression is recognized, treated, and regarded just like any other serious health condition.

Everyone reacts to depression differently. Therefore, the treatments vary. Some people use medication to treat their depression, taking antidepressants like Zoloft or Percocet. Others seek therapy for their depression, while others also use a combination of medication and therapy. Some people even prefer to treat depression naturally, with fresh air, exercise, or herbal remedies.

Regardless of the method of treatment, depression can be very expensive to treat. It can also interfere with daily life, causing people to miss work and experience lost wages. This is why many people apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits to cope with the lost income. In fact, depression is the second most commonly listed disorder on SSD applications.

Depression and SSD

To qualify for SSD benefits, a person with clinical depression must display, either occasionally or consistently, at least five of the symptoms listed by the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased interest in almost all activities
  • Appetite disturbance resulting in a change in weight
  • Sleep disturbance, like insomnia or oversleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • A slowing of physical movements and reactions or increased physical agitation

Additionally, the SSA must find that the depression causes a loss of abilities. These abilities include:

  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • Interacting with others
  • Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace in performing tasks
  • Adapting or managing oneself

If someone is severely limited in their ability to perform at least two of these abilities, their depression may be considered severe enough to qualify for SSD.

Sometimes, depression might not feel like a “real” disease because it’s a mental illness. However, when clinical depression becomes debilitating and hinders work or social life, it is a very real problem indeed. It needs to be treated — and considered as a cause for SSD benefits — just like any other serious disorder.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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