Severe depression is a basis for Social Security disability. Depression is analyzed under listed impairment 12.04.
Sometimes a patient's depression is so deep, and/or so unresponsive to medication, that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is prescribed. It is not a procedure to undertake lightly, because the risks and potential side effects can be significant.
Having representing several Social Security disability clients who have undergone ECT, I have found that ECT can make an important difference in your disability case.
For one, it tends to validate the severity of your depressive symptoms in a way that routine medical notes and Social Security function reports cannot. ECT is something of a treatment of last resort, and it is not usually considered unless the depression is severe and continuing.
Second, side effects of ECT are not uncommon. Short-term memory, cognitive thinking and concentration can all suffer. Many disability claimants suffering from severe depression have these same symptoms without ECT. But when ECT is involved, these impairments seem to be given more weight.