Social Security Disability for Depression and Anxiety

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Question

Does having both clinical depression and anxiety make it any easier to get disability benefits?

Answer

Depression and anxiety can have a profound and marked impact on a person's life and career. Those who are depressed may be lethargic, disinterested in life, unmotivated, self destructive, and even suicidal. Those who are anxious may have a hard time leaving their home or meeting people, may be unable to concentrate, and may react with extreme adverse reactions in social and professional situations.

Because having severe depression or anxiety can make it impossible for an individual to work or to earn a living, people with both severe depression and severe anxiety (a common combination) may be able to collect disability through the Social Security Administration's disability insurance program (SSDI) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. However, to qualify medically for SSDI or SSI benefits on the basis of depression and anxiety, you must show Social Security that your mental condition is severe and precents you from living a normal life. For more information, see our articles on disability for depression and disability for anxiety.

If you also suffer from a physical ailment, such as heart disease, back pain, or lupus, having depression or anxiety in addition can sometimes make it easier to get disability benefits. For more information, see our article on how depression or anxiety affects a disability claim for a physical problem.

Written by: Tim Moore, former disability claims examiner for Social Security

Updated by: , J.D.

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