Postpartum Depression and Social Security Disability

Postpartum Depression – Condition and Symptoms

Postpartum depression, or postnatal depression, can affect women after childbirth. This form of depression usually begins within the first few months after childbirth. Women who have suffered miscarriages can also suffer from postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression may persist for several months or even throughout the year. Postpartum depression may have serious consequences to childcare, due to babies’ mothers being fixated over the negative events resulting from infant interaction. A mother’s inability to properly cope with childcare stress might lead to behavioral disengagement and the inability to solve problems, leading to poor care for the child.

There aren’t any clear causes for postpartum depression. There have been theories and studies that have tried to peg the causes of postpartum depression on a lack of essential nutrients and vitamins for the significant changes in a woman’s hormones during pregnancy. However, the following factors have been known to increase the risk for the onset of postpartum depression:

  • Birth-related psychological or physiological trauma
  • Elevated prolactin levels or depleted oxytocin
  • Previous history of depression or low self-esteem
  • Poor marital relationship and low social support
  • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
  • Cigarette smoking

There have also been studies that have attempted to connect postpartum depression with a woman’s social class. The study has shown a good correlation between higher occurrences of postpartum depression in women with fewer financial resources. Postpartum depression has also been linked with women who have unintended or unwanted pregnancies, which occur more frequently among women in lower income brackets.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is regarded as a serious condition and can be considered disabling in some cases. In order for a disability applicant to qualify for SSDI or SSI, four of the following symptoms must be observed in the applicant:

  • Loss of libido
  • Change in sleeping habits or constant sleep disturbances
  • Challenges in connecting with the baby
  • Feelings of emptiness or low self-esteem
  • Lethargy or withdrawal from physical activities
  • Delusions, paranoia, hallucinations, or suicidal thoughts

The first step to claiming your disability benefit is to gather up all your medical data relating to postpartum depression. These documents may come in the form of medical records from your treating doctor or hospital that relate to your treatment of this condition. Documents related to postpartum depression may include medical records from psychiatrists, mental health clinics or any establishments where you have received treatment for postpartum depression.

In the event your medical records are not sufficient to warrant an approval for benefits, you may be scheduled for a mental status examination to assess the extent of your postpartum depression. The Social Security Administration will provide you a scheduled appointment with one of their contracted doctors and will shoulder any fees that this examination will incur. This subsidy will only relate to costs or fees that are associated with the assessment of your claim for benefits.

Your Postpartum Depression Disability Claim

To the surprise of many Americans, those who have been recently diagnosed with postpartum depression may be legally able to apply for Social Security benefits. A disability attorney can help provide guidance for the best way to proceed with the application. The insight of a disability attorney could mean the difference between the approval and the rejection of your application. 

A disability attorney can also help distinguish which type of benefit you are eligible for. An applicant can be eligible for either a Social Security Income or a Social Security Disability Income. The difference between the two forms of benefits rests on the following:

  • Basis of benefit amount
  • Length of employment
  • Parties to receive payment

A disability attorney can also help you process your claim. You will be provided with all the tips you need when preparing your medical documentation from doctors and hospitals where you have received treatment for postpartum depression. This preparation will help you present the best case for your application to maximize your chances of getting an approval.

Getting a disapproval for Social Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is not the end of the line for you. Your disability attorney can guide you through the appeals process. The appeal will include a hearing, so having a disability attorney at the ready can truly give you the edge in winning your benefits through the appeals process. 

To find out exactly how much money you could receive each month in disability benefits for postpartum depression, use our Social Security Benefits Calculator

Additional Resources

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!