How to Generate Income When You Can’t Work Due to Depression

by | Aug 22, 2023 | SSD Qualification

If you are suffering from depression and you’re thinking, “I can’t work due to depression,” that’s not the end of the road. You can file for Social Security Disability benefits.

Depression is a mental disorder that is recognized by the Social Security Administration as a disability. In this article, we will explain how you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits to receive benefits and ways to generate income when you can’t work.

For immediate assistance, contact one of our experts today! We can assist you with filing your disability application and answer any questions you may have about the process. We can also inform you of things you can do to generate income while you wait.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by depressed, low, or “blue” mood that lasts more than a few days.

Depressed people often lose interest in activities they formerly found pleasant, feel hopeless and sad, and suffer from low self-esteem. Their sleep is often disturbed and they suffer from insomnia or sleeping excessively.

Depression can also lead to low energy and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can either be chronic or cyclical. A depressed person has difficulty relating to others, taking care of daily activities, and fulfilling their responsibilities at work. In the most severe cases, depression can even lead to the contemplation of suicide.

In cases of clinical depression, depressed feelings and hopelessness become overwhelming and last for long periods of time — from months to years.

Finally, depression can be caused by both environmental and genetic factors and by the way a person has learned to deal with stress.

How Is Depression Diagnosed?

When diagnosing you, your doctor will start with a thorough physical exam to rule out other conditions that can cause depressive symptoms, such as a reaction to certain medications or illnesses.

Your doctor will take inventory of your physical and family history and will discuss symptoms with you. He or she will want to know when your symptoms began and how severe they are and if you or anyone in your family has been treated for depression in the past.

If you have a significant history of drug or alcohol use, your doctor may determine this is being used to mask the symptoms of depression. There is no specific medical test used for diagnosing depression. Instead, your doctor will look at the overall pattern and severity of your symptoms.

Symptoms Of Clinical Depression

Symptoms of clinical depression may include some of the following:

  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Difficulty Making Decisions
  • Restlessness
  • Overeating
  • Loss Of appetite
  • Loss Of Interest In Activities And People
  • Hopelessness
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Feelings Of Worthlessness and Pessimism
  • Sleep Patterns Disturbed (Insomnia, Waking Early, Or Sleeping Excessively)
  • Diffused Anxiety
  • Feeling “Empty”
  • Thoughts of Suicide

Depression is highly treatable, with antidepressant medications and psychotherapy proven effective for up to 80 percent of those affected.

Filing For Social Security Disability With A Diagnosis of Depression

Depression is included under Section 12.04 Affective Disorders. To qualify for benefits on the basis of an affective disorder, your medical records must satisfy at least one of the following two sets of criteria.

The first set of criteria:

  • Your depression must result in marked restrictions or difficulty in at least two of the following areas:
    • Activities of Daily Living.
    • Social Functioning.
    • Your ability to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace.
    • Repeated, extended occurrences of deterioration in your condition.


  • Your Depression must also result in at least four of the following, either occasionally or consistently:
    • You are unable to experience pleasure or you have a pervasive loss of interest in nearly all activities.
    • Significant changes in eating habits and weight.
    • Sleep disturbances.
    • Agitation of psychomotor function.
    • Decreased energy levels.
    • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
    • Suicidal thoughts.
    • Difficulty thinking or concentrating.
    • Hallucinatory episodes, delusions, or paranoid thinking.

If you are unable to meet the first set of criteria, you may qualify for benefits by meeting each of the elements of a second set of criteria:

  • You must have a medically documented history of Depression, lasting at least two years; AND
  • Your medical records must show that your Depression has limited your ability to work AND
  • Your medical records must show you are subject to repeated, extended periods of time when your symptoms worsen.

– Or, your medical records must show evidence that the aftereffects of a disease cause worsening of your symptoms with even a minimal increase in mental demands or changes to the environment.

– Or, your medical records must provide evidence that your depression is so severe that you are unable to live at least one year outside a highly supported living arrangement, as well as evidence that this arrangement needs to be continued.

It is possible to be awarded either complete disability benefits or to be awarded a medical vocational allowance if you meet the requirements of the tests discussed above. Most people receive disability benefits under this heading in the form of a medical vocational allowance.

Ways To Generate Income While Depressed and Unable to Work

You can still find ways to earn income while depressed by doing any of the following:

  • Selling some of your belongings
  • Selling crafts on Etsy
  • Becoming a freelancer
  • Becoming a driver
  • Getting websites to pay you
  • Becoming a pet sitter
  • Participating in studies

To find out more information about ways you can make money, read this blog.

Also, we can assist you in filing your disability claim and advising you on things you can do to generate income while depressed and unable to work. Contact us today for immediate assistance!

Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    1. Do you expect to be out of work for at least 12 months?

    2. Did you earn taxable income for 5 of the last 10 years?

    3. Are you currently receiving disability benefits?

    4. Have you seen a doctor within the last 12 months?

    5. Are you currently working with a disability advocate?

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