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Can You Get a Disability for Anxiety and Depression?

By July 10, 2021 July 12th, 2021 No Comments

Anxiety and depression are serious mental illnesses that the Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize as qualifying disabilities in some instances. Typically, these cases must be severe for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) approval consideration.

How Depression Can Qualify for Social Security Disability

Depression is detailed in Social Security’s impairment listing “12.04 – Depressive, Bipolar and Related Disorders”. The listing highlights several different ways depression could qualify as a severe mental illness. An applicant must demonstrate (through proper documentation from a medical professional) at least five of the following:

  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased interest in a range of activities
  • Appetite disturbance resulting in a change in weight
  • Any kind of sleep disturbance
  • Concentration or thought difficulties
  • Worthlessness or guilt feelings that are ongoing and substantive
  • Suicidal thoughts or similar death-related thoughts
  • Physical movement and reactionary slowing, including speech and/or physical agitation

There are also functional criteria that must be met. This means an “extreme” limitation in one of the following areas, or a “marked” limitation in at least two:

  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information,
  • interacting with others in a socially appropriate way,
  • concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace in performing tasks (the ability to complete tasks), and/or
  • adapt or manage oneself.

How Anxiety Can Qualify for Social Security Disability

Under listing 12.06, the SSA recognizes formal, severe anxiety disorders as three or more of the following:

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep issues
  • Easily fatigued
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability

There are also “extreme” and “marked” limitations that need to be met, not unlike depression:

  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information,
  • interacting with others in a socially appropriate way,
  • concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace in performing tasks (the ability to complete tasks), and/or
  • adapt or manage oneself.

This is just an overview of what may qualify for SSI or SSDI. There are additional things to consider, and if you’ve been initially denied, it may be time to consult a Social Security attorney. For those working through this process in the Willamette Valley, call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. today at (541) 434-6466 to learn more and schedule a free consultation.