Follow these steps:
1. Have you been working for a long period of time? If so, you will likely qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If this is the case, you only have to make sure your monthly gross pay is less than $1,130.00 for 2016.
2. Do you have a "spotty" work history or are you young or have you never worked or did you stop working more than 5 years ago? If this describes you, then you may have to consider you can only qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and you (for the most part) cannot have more than $2,000.00 in assets or make more than $733.00 a month gross as an individual or $1,100.00 if married as a household income for 2016.
Next, after you have asked yourself these two questions, consider this:
3. Is your condition really severe? Does it interrupt your ability to work, to concentrate, get along with peers or co-workers, other family members? Did you have to stop working because of your depression or does it keep you from leaving the house, doing chores, cooking, bathing, etc.?
4. Even with your depression, can you go back and do some job you have done in the past? If you can, then you will not be considered disabled. If you cannot, then you need to consider the rest of the things listed.
5. Are you capable of working at some other type of job, even with your depression? You really need to think hard on this one. If there is any other kind of work, no matter how little it pays, then you may want to consider trying to work. For example, if you are unable to work around the public or with co-workers or you can only handle simple instructions, then there are jobs that fit this description. Really take a look at your limitations and see if there are jobs available you would be able to perform even despite your limitations. If the Social Security Administration determines that you are capable at working some other type of job, you will be considered not disabled.
6. Are you going to a psychologist or a psychiatrist? Your primary care doctor will typically not be enough for you to qualify for benefits. In fact, you are going to need to be seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist for some time for Social Security to find your doctor's findings controlling when determining your case. You cannot just get a one or two-time evaluation and think that will win you benefits. It doesn't work that way. There needs to be a relationship between you and your doctor long enough to show his or her findings are accurate.
7. Have you ever been hospitalized due to your depression? While this is not a requirement to be approved, it certainly helps. If you have been hospitalized within the last year or two due to your depression, then it certainly makes your case stronger. If you do have to attend a hearing, the judge listening to your case will likely ask you the last time you were hospitalized due to your depression. Again, while this is not a sole determination for approval, it does go a long way in showing the severity of your condition.
8. If you can fulfill these requirements, it certainly helps the strength of your case. While no one should ever tell you that your case is a "for sure" winner or loser, the more steps you can fulfill the better off you are in winning your benefits.