SSDI and Suicidal Ideations 

Curious whether thoughts of suicide can be considered disabling? Both depression and bipolar disorder are common causes of suicidal thoughts. These mental illnesses have a variety of symptoms that can manifest in small or large ways. This article will delve into whether having these thoughts can cause you to be considered disabled. 

Listings for Mental Illness (Depression/Bipolar) 

As far as disability evaluation by Social Security is concerned, there are several categories of mental disorders. One of the categories includes depressive, bipolar, and related disorders. Each of the listings explains the required medical criteria, how a condition is assessed, and the criteria used to determine whether the mental illness is persistent and severe. 


There are many symptoms considered for depression, bipolar disorder, and similar illnesses. These include: 

  • Suicidal ideation 
  • massive change in appetite or bodyweight 
  • Increase or decrease in energy 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Psychomotor abnormalities 
  • Pressured speech 
  • Disturbed concentration 
  • Reduced impulse control 
  • Grandiosity 
  • Euphoria 
  • Sadness 
  • Social withdrawal 


Everything from your living arrangement to the psychosocial support someone has is considered when determining the limits of a person’s functioning. Treatment is known to help improve functioning and may reduce systems, but it may also limit functioning in some cases. All of these things are considered when determining whether disability is present. The evidence can be provided by the applicant or third parties who are privy to their life and limitations. 

Levels of Depression 

There are several different types of depression, which can be caused by chemical changes in the brain and lifestyle. Knowing the type and level of depression that you have will significantly impact choosing the right treatment and determining whether you might qualify for Social Security disability. 

Major depression is a type of depression where most people feel depressed most hours of most days every week. Persistent depressive disorder is a form of depression that lasts for at least two years. Seasonal affective disorder is another form of depression that typically causes symptoms during the winter months.  

Qualifying For Blue Book Listing 

Suicidal ideation is considered under Section 12.04 Affective Disorders for disability. Several things qualify you for benefits from depression or bipolar disorder.  

First, the illness must cause difficulty in two or more of these areas: maintaining pace, concentration, or persistence, activities of daily living, repeated and extended occurrences of worsening of the condition, and social functioning. 

The depression also needs to result in four or more of the following things: 

  • Paranoid thinking, hallucinatory episodes, or delusions 
  • Inability to feel pleasure or a loss of interest in activities 
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking 
  • Significant changes in weight or eating habits 
  • Suicidal ideation 
  • Sleep troubles 
  • Guilt or worthless feelings 
  • Agitation of psychomotor function 
  • Decreased energy levels 

RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) 

Being eligible for disability benefits isn’t based only on your disability. It also takes into account whether the disability prevents you from working. Social Security will determine your RFC, including what work activities you can handle regularlyIf you have the capabilities to perform the job, the claim will be denied. If you cannot, Social Security will determine what work you can do and whether to approve the claim. 


Those who have sought treatment for depression or similar disorders who continue to have suicidal thoughts should consider applying for benefits. If the suicidal thoughts are so intense that they make employment unlikely, the disability program could be a good fit. However, there are other ways to attempt treatment of the issue.  


There are various opinions on how to treat illnesses that lead to suicidal thoughts. This can include making lifestyle changes, reducing stress levels, trying hard throughout the recovery time, and being open to new ideas. The most common treatment options are listed below. 


Treatment for bipolar disorder and depression often involves medication. Antidepressants can often help, but it can take time for them to impact symptoms. Taking medicine as prescribed is an essential part of the solution. Seeing a therapist can also be useful for many people with depression. 

Drugs and Alcohol 

Using drugs and drinking alcohol can exacerbate the problems associated with depression, so they should be avoided. Some people use these items to manage symptoms, but they can lead to addiction and further mental health problems. 

If you are struggling with suicidal ideations and need help, the team at Disability Help Center can help you file a claim. We also offer a free disability evaluation on our website.