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When does depression constitute a disability?

Depressive disorders can be difficult to treat, and a person in New Jersey may not respond to treatments that are given, eventually leading to an inability to function in society. In fact, the Social Security Administration includes depressive disorders in its “Listing of Impairments.” When a person has depression, if they meet the elements found in the Listing of Impairments for depressive disorders, they may be able to seek Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions.

First of all, a person’s depressive disorder must include at least five of the following symptoms. One symptom is feeling depressed. Another symptom is a loss of interest in nearly every activity the person is involved in. A third symptom is having a change in appetite that results in a weight change. A fourth symptom is having trouble sleeping. A fifth symptom is having little to no energy. A sixth symptom is feeling guilty or feeling worthless. A seventh symptom is having trouble maintaining concentration or thinking. Finally, an eighth symptom is having suicidal thoughts.

Second, there must be either extreme limitation in one of the following mental abilities or a marked limitation in two of the following mental abilities. One ability is being able to understand, remember or apply information. Another ability involves being able to interact with others. A third ability is being able to concentrate. A fourth ability is being able to adapt to changes.

Alternatively, the second element may be met if the person’s condition is “serious and persistent,” meaning there is a medical history of it spanning at least two years and it can be shown that the person is receiving medical care and that they have a minimal ability to adapt to new environments or activities.

Depression may not always be visible, but it is a debilitating illness that can rob a person of being able to live a normal life. Those who want to seek disability benefits for their depressive disorder should make sure they understand the necessary qualifications before proceeding.