Chronic Depression and Filing for a Social Security Disability Claim

Written by John Horn. Posted in Mental Illness

Chronic-DepressionDepression is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States. Consequently, many individuals may not realize that they can qualify for Social Security Disability if their depression has led to a situation in which they must stop working and it greatly affects your daily life. As with many other disorders, depression does require thorough documentation and there are steps that an individual should take before they make their claim.

Determining Whether You Qualify

There are three major types of depression that generally qualify for disability: Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia and Manic Depression. This requires an official diagnosis from a psychiatrist or psychologist. 

Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Order includes continual feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, suicidal ideation and/or sadness over the course of more than two weeks.


Dysthymia presents with symptoms similar to Major Depressive Disorder, but the symptoms may sometimes come and go. Dysthymia is lighter in overall impact but has lasted longer than two years.

Manic Depression

Manic Depression, or Bipolar Disorder, usually includes swings between being extremely depressed to experiencing elation and high risk behaviors. These volatile switches in temperament can be difficult to control.

If you have been diagnosed with one of these issues, Social Security Disability is possible for you if you take the right steps after your diagnosis and get the help you need to apply.

Determining Whether You Can Work

Different people may have different levels of depression. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must also be unable to do any type of unskilled work. This includes being unable to follow directions, being unable to take changes in routine and being unable to work well with co-workers.

Documenting Your Medical Treatment

Depression has many treatments and is considered to be a highly treatable disease. Because of this, an individual usually has to be able to show that they have attempted treatment but treatment has failed.

Not all depression patients respond positively to treatment; nevertheless, they need to document their medical treatments before they apply. In order to qualify, an individual needs an opinion from a treating psychiatrist or psychologist diagnosing the depression and stating that the individual is functionally limited by their disease. An individual seeking Social Security Disability has to show that they tried to resolve the problem first.

For that reason, those with a depressive disorder should go through medical treatment for long enough to show that they cannot work consistently. These individuals should also document their attempt to work and also the outcome of that work.

Dealing with Depression and Other Disorders

Depression often combines with another disability to create a situation in which an individual cannot work. As an example, an individual with depression may not be able to concentrate enough for office work, but may still be able to do labor. At the same time, the individual may have a back injury that is not alone enough to qualify for disability, but that does relegate them to office work.

Therefore, an individual’s entire medical history needs to be considered for Social Security Disability to process the claim appropriately.

In these difficult situations the individual should get professional help, as a case will need to be made that both disabilities taken together create a situation that is impossible for the individual to navigate.

The process of a Social Security Disability claim can be difficult to navigate, especially when it is related to a psychological or emotional disorder. Having an attorney can help. Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law offers experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate Social Security Disability expertise for the greater Chicagoland area in Indiana/Illinois. Contact Horn & Kelley to get started.


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With locations in Tinley Park, IL; La Grange, IL; Chicago, IL; & Highland, IN, getting started on your Social Security Disability claim has never been easier.

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