According to the Disability Care Center, more than three million people receive a depression diagnosis each year, making it one the most commonly diagnosed disorders in Georgia and the United States. Depression takes many forms, including manic depression, dysthymia and major depressive disorder, all of which have both mental and physical symptoms. Mental symptoms may include gloominess, hopelessness and disinterest. Physical symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, decreased energy levels, loss of appetite and insomnia. Both physical and mental symptoms can make it difficult for an individual to do his or her job, which is why the Social Security Administration may extend benefits in more extreme cases.
Most people struggle with depression at some point in their lives due to unfortunate life events such as the loss of a loved one or separation. These instances of depression are situational and often short-lived. However, when a person experiences episodes of depression characterized by severe daily symptoms that persist for two weeks or longer, he or she may have major clinical depression. Those with major clinical depression may qualify for social security disability benefits.
The SSA categorizes depression as a 12.00 disorder, which is the schedule of mental disorders. For a person to qualify for SSD benefits, his or her symptoms must meet the severity levels the SSA outlines in section 12.04. There are three categories of symptoms: A, B and C. A person must satisfy requirements under either A and B or A and C.
The list of requirements is extensive, but a person only needs to satisfy five in category A, two in category B or both those in category C. Category A requirements include but are not limited to depressed mood, decreased energy, diminished interest in nearly all activities, observable psychomotor agitation, difficulty concentrating or thinking and feelings of worthlessness.
Category B requirements show a person's noticeable limitation in certain areas. Such areas include concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace; remembering, understanding or applying information; interacting with others; and adapting or managing oneself.
Category C requirements prove that a person's depression is "serious and persistent." To prove this, an individual must present at least two years of evidence of both medical treatment, mental health therapy or psychosocial support and the capacity to adapt to changes in one's environment.