Crippling Depression or Anxiety | Is It Time for Social Security Disability Bennies?

Living with Depression

Sometimes, one has been living with depression, or struggling with how to beat anxiety, for so long – and the intensity so high – it’s no longer possible to work. Disability options may have to be considered. Great info in this guest post…

Come one, come all! I love bringing you guest posts. So if you’d like me to post your article on living with depression, how to beat anxiety, or anything having to do with the mood and anxiety disorders drop me a line.

Ram Meyyappan from Social Security Disability Help did just that, asking if he could present on Chipur. I “O.K.’d,” and here’s what he has to say pertaining to disability benefits for those enduring severe depression and anxiety.

Oh, before we get started – Ram, no doubt, provides a service for which I’m sure he somehow gets compensated. That said, I haven’t accepted a penny for posting Ram’s piece. Not the way we do things here. Good?

Your dime, your dance floor, Ram…

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, and the powerful combination of these two medical conditions can make it impossible to maintain employment. While more minor forms of depression and anxiety cannot qualify you to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, more serious forms can.

You may be able to receive disability benefits through two programs from the Social Security Administration (SSA): Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Both programs require you to have a long-lasting medical condition that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment. What distinguishes the two programs is that SSDI requires you to have work credits built up from your employment history. SSI is a need-based program that has no work credit requirement, but does have strict income and financial resource limitations. Learn more about SSDI and SSI.

Living with Depression | How to Beat Anxiety | Qualifying for Disability Benefits

To meet the SSA’s medical requirements for receiving disability benefits with depression, your application and medical records must show your depression is as a result of an organic mental disorder (chemical imbalance in the brain), and that you experience at least one of the following…

  • Severe disorientation
  • Memory impairment
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Personality changes
  • Mood disturbances
  • Impulse control issues
  • Emotional outbursts of exaggerated scale
  • Impaired intelligence or loss of intellectual ability

Here’s where to go on our site to learn more about applying for benefits with depression.

For your anxiety to meet the SSA’s medical requirements, you must experience ongoing and persistent anxiety despite treatment, and which results in three of the following symptoms…

  • Hyperactivity in the autonomic system
  • Pronounced tension in the motor muscles
  • Hypervigilence
  • Persistent feelings of apprehension or expectation (paranoia)

In addition, one’s anxiety must also cause her/him to experience one of the following…

  • Irrational fears of certain types of situations, objects, or activities; and drive you to avoid the object of your irrational fears
  • Weekly (on average) panic attacks
  • Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
  • Flashbacks to traumatic experiences on an ongoing or recurrent basis

The severity level of the limitations your anxiety imposes on you can also be proven through showing you are unable to function without assistance when outside of your own home.

Here’s where to go on our site to learn more about applying for benefits with anxiety.

It is important to note that just one or the other of your medical conditions may qualify you for benefits, though the SSA does take concurrent conditions, and their respective effects and limitations, into account when reviewing disability claims.

Living with Depression | How to Beat Anxiety | Filing an Application

You can apply for SSD benefits online at the SSA’s website,  or in person at your local SSA office. If you decide to apply in person, be sure to schedule your appointment in advance by calling 800-772-1213.

You should collect as much evidence of your medical disability as possible prior to filing your claim and ensure you provide thorough medical records and other documentation to the SSA at the time you apply. Seek assistance if you need to from either a Social Security advocate or attorney that is familiar with handling claims based on mental illnesses.

Be patient once you submit your claim, as the review process can take a number of months. If you are denied benefits the first time around, make sure you file timely appeals to continue trying to get the financial support you need.

Alrighty, then – thank you Ram for the detailed and helpful information.

I sure hope it isn’t the case; however, if you’ve been living with depression or struggling with how to beat anxiety – and you’re no longer able to work – you have options. Certainly, applying for Social Security Disability benefits is one.

Hoping this article helps…

Here it is – the place where you can peruse the titles of 550+ Chipur articles. Have at ’em!

  • Megan September 2, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Nope. I tried this and even testified in front of a judge. It was a no go. And Bill knows particularly well about my situation. Oh, well. I’ll march on without it. I’ve seen others get it who milk the system dry and are actually able to go out for pleasure. I wouldn’t call going out a pleasure for me at all. I’ll take the high road and mention no names. Some people who need it have it and some people who don’t need it have it. God must have some different path for me. This is why I can only work online. Leaving the house is actually (at this time) THAT bad for me. But no one listens. I can’t even remember how many times I appealed the verdicts. Finally there was nowhere left to go and I let the case die. As long as I am qualified to work online, I will. But the qualifications are quite strict and it is no cakewalk to get an online job. It’s cut throat most of the time. But it’s the only thing that I can do to make income. I was so scared that I actually fainted at my last “real world” job. Apparently, that is not severe enough evidence for the courts.

    • chipur September 2, 2013, 5:29 pm

      Yes, Megan, I do know your situation well. Unfortunately, I also know how very difficult it is to get a Social Security Disability benefits application approved. I hope the post didn’t imply it was a “push.” I’m glad you didn’t name names, though I’m very convinced you could. Definitely the high road taken. Keep after it, Megan – marching forward as best and assertively as you can. We appreciate you here…

      • Megan September 2, 2013, 5:47 pm

        I have a couple names of people who are abusing the system which I could drop. These people live off of both EBT and disability. If you need it, fine– but these people don’t need it. And they brag about the things they buy with the checks. It’s like a kid in a candy store with Uncle Moneybags.

        But, in a way, I suppose this path is best for me. As long as I can be employed online, I have a sense of accomplishment. I am also able to use my intellect. The most difficult task is scoring an online job as there are a lot of ropes to go through– especially in academia.

        And you know what? I really don’t want to get to that point where I say, “I give up. Please help me, [insert name/organization here]” I didn’t find the process of trying to get disability uplifting. I didn’t feel like someone owed me something. That was MY experience, though, and others may see it differently. There are still people out there who DO need this but they seem to favor physical disabilities over mental ones.

        I had someone advise me as to “how to act crazy” to get benefits. I ignored this. Because I present well with my symptoms and because I passed the comprehension tests given by the state psychiatrist and because of my educational background and my age, I was told to “get a job that doesn’t involve people”. I don’t understand how that verdict addressed my panic attacks. It was absolutely irrelevant and almost flippant to me.

        I have bad memories from this time– obviously– because I played a fair game when others do not. For those of you who need it, great, please get it. For those of you who don’t need it– you make a mockery of true physical and mental pain. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

      • Megan September 2, 2013, 5:56 pm

        I just want to add that there also are plenty of people out there suffering who do apply for disability and receive it. I also have some more names I could plop in this category. The thing that angers me the most is the fraud because I was brutally honest about my condition.

      • chipur September 2, 2013, 6:09 pm

        You’re hurt and angry, Megan – and I empathize. Sucks when you play by the rules and end up with nothing to show for it.

      • Megan September 2, 2013, 6:33 pm

        Yeah, pretty much…
        It seems like the people who cry the loudest are heard the best.
        What if I’m just screaming on the inside?
        That judge has no idea what this feels like.
        But because I could put together a few puzzle pieces in a state authorized I.Q. booklet, I’m not suffering.
        I demanded nothing and so I got nothing– except the fact that I am in the precarious condition of always looking behind my back financially because I am unsuited for “real world” jobs at this time because of my panic disorder.

      • Patricia Miller September 2, 2013, 6:51 pm

        I am honored that you opted to play by the rules Megan, and I am sorry that your honesty was not respected by a system that SHOULD be there to help instead of harm. Your posts make it clear you have been harmed in the whole process, and that hurts my heart for you. You are correct that the system is skewed towards physical and intellectual disabilities and there is little honest recognition of the trials of the struggles faced each day by those striving to overcome mental health issues. I am glad you are able to work and glad that you continue to see some progress. Panic disorders are so harsh. Thinking of you– Patricia

      • chipur September 2, 2013, 7:05 pm

        Nice touch, Patricia. Very kind of you to provide Megan with such support. I’ll say it again, exchanges like this are what I want Chipur to be about. Thank you…

      • Megan September 2, 2013, 7:31 pm

        Dear Patricia,
        Thank you for the nice message. Right now I’m in grad school trying to bump up my degree because of the online teaching requirements. I enjoy teaching but sometimes it is hard to abide by some of the restrictions when giving students feedback. It can be frustrating always maintaining positivity when students don’t give their all on the assignment. But, that’s a different topic.
        Anyhow, I suppose everything turns out the way God wants so I suppose I have some part to play.
        Don’t feel so bad for me. I don’t like to make nice people sad. ;) — Just the mean ones! Lol! :)

      • Patricia Miller September 2, 2013, 9:34 pm

        I am with you that the evil folks are the ones I would like to make sad too. Good luck on the classes and I am sure your students are fortunate to have you.

      • chipur September 2, 2013, 10:16 pm

        Well, since you’re a nice person, go easy on making yourself sad. K?

    • Conspiracy Carrot September 18, 2013, 11:33 am

      Hi, may I ask what kind of work you do online? I’m in a similar situation and while I’m able to hold down “normal jobs” for a few months or more, it eventually becomes too much for me and I end up quitting. In the past I’d found graphic design work I could do online, but a lot is changing in the design world and I’ve found my skills are now outdated & work has dried up. Currently I work doing early morning deliveries, it’s great since I’m on my own, but it just doesn’t quite pay the bills and I know I will never qualify for SSDI/SSI. Just kind of wondering what online work may be out there for a guy like me. Thanks…

      • chipur September 18, 2013, 6:06 pm

        Hi CC! I will nudge Megan, so she’ll hopefully hop on and reply to your post. Thank you for your visit and participation…

  • Lisa Frederiksen September 2, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this information! I’ll be sure to pass it along.

    • chipur September 3, 2013, 3:30 pm

      Good, Lisa. You just never know when someone could use the info. Always good to have plenty of arrows in the quiver.

  • Leslie Ferris September 3, 2013, 11:02 pm

    Wow, so much to know about how to do this! Thank you both for sharing it with people who may really need to know!

    • chipur September 4, 2013, 9:15 am

      You’re welcome, Leslie…

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk September 3, 2013, 11:50 pm

    Great information Bill on anxiety and depression and as well as some tools to help. Have seen the affects and it can certainly hold a person back and keep them in a negative cycle. Thanks for some hope for those that are suffering.

    • chipur September 4, 2013, 9:17 am

      You’re more than welcome, Cathy. These realities don’t often catch the public eye. However, whether it’s a physical ailment – or emotional/mental – folks legitimately require this kind of help. And they need to know how to access it. Please be sure to visit again, okay?

  • Dr. Herby Bell September 8, 2013, 5:58 pm


    You and Ram are reminding me that most of the time when I’m telling myself it can’t be done, it’s just that I don’t know how to do it.

    This post is going to save time, money and lives!

    As you continue to bring forward the most valuable 411 around, I salute you!

    • chipur September 8, 2013, 7:26 pm

      Not the most fun paperwork in the world, but very important to many. Happy to be a helpful resource. Thanks for stopping by, Herby…

  • Jody Lamb September 8, 2013, 9:11 pm

    Wow. Thanks for this post, Bill and Ram. I wasn’t aware about SS benefits for those who are unable to work due to depression and anxiety. Good info to pass along. Thank you.

    • chipur September 8, 2013, 10:10 pm

      Well, fact is most aren’t aware these bennies are available to those enduring a life-disrupting mood and/or anxiety disorder. But if you think about it, what’s the difference between, say, crushing major depressive episodes and chronic heart disease? Both are life-threatening and can make it impossible to work. And there you have it. Thanks for your visit and comment, Jody…