How to Get Disability for Depression in PA + NJ

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available for a number of surprising conditions and illnesses. Not every disability needs to be something that keeps you in a wheelchair or a hospital bed; many mental health issues and disorders are so severe that they can keep you from being able to perform daily tasks and work tasks. Depression is one of those conditions.

If you are suffering from depression and want to apply for disability benefits, talk to our New Jersey and Pennsylvania disability attorneys today. The disability lawyers at Young Marr & Associates have decades of experience handling cases involving disability for depression and anxiety, and we may be able to take your case. For a free consultation and to get help filing for disability for depression, contact our law offices today. If you are in New Jersey, call us at (609) 557-3081, and if you are in Pennsylvania, call us at (215) 515-2954.

Can You Get Disability for Depression?

When applying for disability through Social Security, you must meet certain requirements to get the benefits you need. One of those requirements is having a qualifying condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists over a hundred illnesses, injuries, and conditions that qualify for disability benefits, including depression.

Depression is one of the “Mental Disorders” on the SSA’s Listing of Impairments. § 12.04 of this listings covers depression and related mental disorders. Under this section, multiple disorders qualify – but to meet the SSA’s definition, the disorder must have severe symptoms. These symptoms may not always match exactly with the DSM-V’s definition or the definition your psychologist or psychiatrist used in diagnosing your condition.

To receive disability for depressive disorders, you must have at least 5 of the following conditions:

  • “Depressed mood;
  • Diminished interest in almost all activities;
  • Appetite disturbance with change in weight;
  • Sleep disturbance;
  • Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation;
  • Decreased energy;
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking; or
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.”

Alternatively, you can also qualify for disability with other disorders related to depression, including bipolar disorder.

For your condition to qualify, it must also be “severe.” As part of the SSA’s definition of “severe” for depression, the disorder must also affect your ability to work or go about your daily business, including problems understanding or remembering things, interacting with others, concentrating, or managing yourself. In any case, the symptoms you face must be severe enough to keep you from being able to work before you can qualify for disability.

Talk to an attorney about whether your experience with depression qualifies you for disability benefits.

How Much Does Disability Pay for Depression?

The benefits you receive for disability depend upon the specifics of your case. Typically, when receiving SSDI, your benefits are based on your work history. To qualify in the first place, you must have a sufficient history of employment and FICA tax payments to cover your disability insurance – otherwise, you may need to apply for SSI instead of SSDI. When calculating your disability benefits, the SSA will look at your typical wages you received before becoming disabled.

The SSA will calculate your benefits by using your average wages and adjusting them against the national average wage index. The SSA uses a complex formula that adjusts these wages, paying a percentage of wages across various thresholds. In any case, if your disability makes you unable to provide for yourself to reach at least $1,220 per month in wages, you may qualify for benefits that can help support you and your family, even if they are lower than your average wages.

If you are disabled, your family may be able to receive additional benefits to support them. In many cases, your family can receive an additional 50% to 80% of the benefits you receive, meaning your family as a whole receives a total of 150%-180% of your calculated disability benefits.

If you receive other benefits at the same time, such as benefits from a long-term disability plan or workers’ compensation, your disability payments may be reduced. Talk to a lawyer about how much you should be entitled to in disability benefits and how to maximize your benefits.

Applying for Disability Benefits with Depression

If you are considering applying for disability, you should speak with an experienced disability lawyer. The application process can be long and frustrating, especially if you have no experience applying. Working with an attorney statistically improves your chances of having your application accepted, and an attorney can help ensure that your application is complete and honest to help you avoid having your application denied.

Disability Lawyer for Depression and Bipolar Disorder

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression that keeps them from being able to go to work, their condition might qualify as a disability that entitles them to Social Security Disability payments. For help with your disability application, contact the Pennsylvania and New Jersey disability lawyers at Young Marr & Associates today. If you are in New Jersey, call us at (609) 557-3081, and if you are in Pennsylvania, call us at (215) 515-2954.