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Can I receive Social Security disability for being depressed?

It is commonly understood that mental or physical handicaps can prevent people from keeping up a regular job. However, some Georgia residents may wonder if Social Security grants disability benefits for people suffering from depression. When we think of clinical depression, it goes beyond a simple feeling of sadness or melancholy to something that can damage a person's quality of life. The Social Security website describes specifically how far depression should go for someone to qualify for disability benefits.

There are a number of symptoms that may impede a person’s ability to work. Someone may feel guilty or be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness. A person may find it difficult to concentrate on assigned tasks. Sometimes it may be difficult to interact socially with other people, which can be an impediment in many jobs where interaction with other people is important. The sufferer may elect to withdraw from other people to prevent socially awkward situations.

Additionally, it may be difficult for a depression sufferer to get enough sleep. Disturbances during sleep can result in a person being irritable during the day or lethargic due to lack of sleep. People may also feel lower levels of energy simply from the depression itself. On the other hand, depression can cause people’s energy to go up and down erratically, which can render inconsistent results at work or perhaps cause major problems in performing tasks.

Some depression disorders that the Social Security Administration evaluates include, but are not limited to:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Cyclothymic disorder
  • Dysthymia, which is persistent depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depressive disorders caused by a separate medical condition

The basic question for depression sufferers is whether their condition makes it impossible for them to do work that they ordinarily could accomplish in lieu of their condition. The Social Security Administration will evaluate a person's eligibility for disability benefits in light of this possibility.

This article is intended to inform readers about eligibility for Social Security disability benefits and is not to be taken as legal advice.

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