How Long Can You Get Disability for Postpartum Depression

Get disability benefits for postpartum depression as long as needed with medical evidence from doctors, typically 6 weeks to a year after childbirth.

Having a baby changes your life in many ways. But, for some mothers, it’s not all joy. The postpartum period can lead to postpartum depression (PPD). This condition shows up with anxiety, mood swings, and sadness, which can start right after birth.1 PPD makes it hard for a new mom to take care of herself, her baby, or keep a job.1

If PPD keeps someone from working for a year, they might get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.1 The law sees PPD as a condition that limits work, self-care, and social life.1 Workers with PPD are also protected by laws that ensure they get needed help at work, time off, and are not treated unfairly.1

Key Takeaways:

  • Postpartum depression can earn SSD benefits if it stops work for at least a year.
  • The ADA protects those with PPD, ensuring fairness and help at work.
  • Laws on all levels offer supports like time off and preventing unfair treatment for those with PPD.
  • Keeping good medical records is key for getting benefits and meeting workplace rights.
  • Getting legal help can make it easier to get benefits and prevent work issues for PPD.

Understanding Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression begins shortly after giving birth, and it shows in different ways. You might feel anxious, sad, or you might cry a lot.1 It is a type of depression that starts in the first year after having a baby. About 1 in 7 women experience it.2

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a serious condition that affects some new moms. It’s a type of clinical depression that varies in severity. It can make it tough for a new mom to take care of herself and her family.1

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

If you have postpartum depression, you might feel sad, anxious, or just not right. You could be more irritable, tired, or not sleep well. You might lose interest in things too.1

All these signs make it hard for new moms. It’s tough to look after the baby, and it can also affect relationships.

Impact on Daily Life and Work

Postpartum depression seriously influences a person’s life and work. You might find it hard to do simple things or look after the baby. This can affect your work too.1

You might not be able to go to work, or you might not be as productive. This can cause issues at your job.1

Postpartum Depression and Disability Benefits

Postpartum depression can really affect new moms. It can make it hard for them to work full time. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits could be available if it stops them from working for 12 months.1

Qualifying for Social Security Disability (SSD)

The SSA checks the person’s medical records. They want to see if their condition meets the program’s rules.1 For postpartum depression to be considered a disability under ADA, it has to make it hard to do everyday tasks. This can include sleeping, eating, or focusing. If it’s a disability, the person can ask for support in their job. But, this support shouldn’t be too hard for the employer to give.

Medical Evidence Required

The SSA looks at a lot of documents about the symptoms and treatments. They also want to know how the condition affects the person now. This helps decide if they should get SSD benefits.1 Sometimes, a mental health check-up is needed. The results of this check-up can help or hurt the person’s SSD case.

How Long Can You Get Disability for Postpartum Depression?

If postpartum depression makes someone unable to work full-time for over 12 months, they might get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.1 To qualify, their situation needs to last at least a year or stop them from working full-time.3 So, if work is impossible due to postpartum depression, they could get SSD benefits while they need them. This is as long as their condition matches the program’s rules.

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postpartum depression duration

About 1 in 7 women in perinatal care will face Postpartum Depression (PPD) at some point.1 PPD can cause issues at work, like missing days.1 Symptoms include tiredness and trouble focusing, which can affect work.1 Workers with PPD have rights under the ADA, such as not being discriminated against.1 Many in perinatal care don’t seek help for PPD because they don’t know it’s treatable.1 NAMI, PSI, and the Lifeline offer help to those with PPD in perinatal care.1

Postpartum depression can start in the days after birth.3 For SSD benefits, the disability must last a year or make working full-time impossible.3 It’s crucial to have records of your treatment to help your case for benefits.3 The SSA looks at your medical records to decide.3 They might also check your mental health to assess your need for benefits.3

Determining Eligibility for Disability Benefits

After meeting basic criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA), your medical records are checked. The SSA will examine your symptoms and treatments. They also assess your current abilities to work out if you can get SSD benefits.3

Meeting Basic Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for SSD benefits, your disability should last at least a year or make gainful work impossible.3 The SSA looks at your medical records and current ability to work. They’re trying to figure out if you truly need help.3

Evaluating Medical Records and Symptoms

The SSA might also ask for a mental health check to see how you’re doing. What the check shows will either help or hinder your SSD case.4 It’s key to have proof of your treatments for getting SSD benefits.3 Working with a disability lawyer can significantly improve your chances of getting the help you need.3

The Importance of Documenting Treatment

Documenting treatment for postpartum depression is key.4 Those who apply for SSD benefits need this. The SSA checks your medical history and treatment to see how you’re affected.4

Maintaining Detailed Medical Records

Keeping thorough medical records is crucial for SSD benefits.5 The SSA uses these to understand your past treatments and how you’re doing now. This info is vital for deciding if you qualify for help.4

Mental Status Examinations

The SSA might also arrange for a test of your mental health.5 How you do on this test can help or hurt your SSD case. So, it’s crucial to be honest and cooperative during the exam.4

Workplace Rights and Protections

People with postpartum depression are protected by laws in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes postpartum depression as a disability. This means no one can be treated unfairly because of it at work or in public places.6

Those suffering from postpartum depression can ask for changes at work. These might include a different work schedule or a quieter place to work.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) makes sure employers treat pregnant workers fairly. This includes those who have postpartum depression. It only applies if the company has 15 employees or more.6

State and Local Laws

States and cities may have their own laws protecting people with postpartum depression.2 These laws might include the right to medical leave, temporary financial help, or fair treatment at work.

For more help or advice, you can contact A Better Balance at 1-833-NEED-ABB (1-833-633-3222). You can also find information on their website.2

Reasonable Accommodations at Work

Under the PWFA, employees can ask for changes at work because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related issues such as postpartum depression. These changes can include more breaks or work from home. They might also get to pick their hours or need time for healthcare appointments.7

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

If someone faces postpartum depression, their workplace can help in different ways. For instance, they might lower noise levels or let them work in a quiet spot. They can work out a plan to check in on stress or deal with sleeping problems. Additionally, if needed, they can take longer leave, try working from home for a bit, or adjust when they work.7

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Undue Hardship Clause

Employers must agree to these changes, except if they’re very hard or big on money.1 The ADA also stands up for those with postpartum depression by giving them the same rights for changes at work.7

Taking Leave for Postpartum Depression

Figuring out what leave you can take for postpartum depression is hard. But, there are important laws to help workers. These laws give rights and support to people affected.1

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA is vital for those with postpartum depression. It lets eligible workers take up to 12 weeks off each year. This time off is unpaid but your job is safe. It’s for taking care of your own serious health issues, like postpartum depression.2

State and Local Leave Laws

Besides the FMLA, many states and cities have their own rules. They might give more job-protected time off. They could even pay you some of your wage while you’re out with postpartum depression.2

Also, the PWFA and ADA can help. They might let you take unpaid leave because of your depression. But, this is only if it wouldn’t be too hard on your employer.2

Protecting Against Discrimination

People with postpartum depression have legal protection from workplace discrimination. Key laws at the federal and state levels guard against mistreatment. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act stops employers from unfair treatment related to pregnancy. This includes conditions like postpartum depression.2 This law applies if there are 15 or more employees at the job.2

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is also crucial for those with postpartum depression. It makes it illegal for employers to act unfairly, like firing someone, because they have a disability. This covers people with postpartum depression too.2 If a workplace has 15 or more employees, employees have these ADA protections.2

State and Local Antidiscrimination Laws

Besides federal laws, states and cities often have their own anti-discrimination rules. These can add to the protection. They guard against discrimination based on disability, pregnancy, sex, or caring roles. Postpartum depression may fall under these categories. State and local laws help employees with postpartum depression at work.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) due to postpartum depression can be hard.2 It’s advised to talk to a qualified disability lawyer. They can make sure your case is well prepared. They’ll help if you need to appeal a denial.

Consulting with an Attorney

A disability attorney is essential for those with postpartum depression filing for SSD benefits. They assist in collecting medical evidence and filling out forms. They help present a strong case to the SSA.

Free Legal Resources

Not everyone can afford a private lawyer. The third source points to free legal help like A Better Balance’s legal helpline. They answer questions about workplace rights with postpartum depression. These resources help you understand your legal options and get support you need.

Self-Care and Support Systems

Even though the data we have doesn’t talk directly about handling postpartum depression, self-care and support systems are key. They help lessen symptoms and boost overall wellness.8 Postpartum depression affects 1 in 8 new moms in the year after giving birth.8

Seeking Professional Help

Getting help from a therapist or mental health expert is essential when facing postpartum depression.8 It’s recommended that doctors screen for depression symptoms in new moms. This early treatment can be very helpful.8 There’s a medicine, brexanolone, approved by the FDA for treating postpartum depression.8

See also  Inpatient Treatment for Depression: Find Hope and Healing

Building a Support Network

Having a job can lower the chances of postpartum depression. It offers support, more money, and keeps your health insurance.9 IIt’s vital to have a strong support network. This includes family, friends, and local help, to fight the depression and feel better.8 Not getting help for postpartum depression can make it hard to be a good parent. It also increases the risk of suicide. This highlights the need for support.8


This guide explained how long disability for postpartum depression lasts. It covered how to qualify and apply for SSD benefits. It also looked at the rights and protections for those with this condition. Here are the key points:

Postpartum depression affects about 1 in 7 mothers after they give birth10. Disability benefits are there for those who can’t work because of it. To get these benefits, the depression must be so severe it stops you from working.10 Also, about 1 in 7 women who give birth deal with postpartum depression.10

The prevalence of postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS) 9 to 10 months post-birth was 7.2%.11 If the woman had Medicaid after birth, she was 2.34 times more likely to have PDS.11 And, those with a history of depression were 4.03 times more likely to have PDS.11 Women with current postpartum anxiety were 3.58 times more likely to have PDS.11

For women with postpartum depression, workplaces should offer easy adjustments. Benefits like health insurance and retirement plans make a big difference over time.10 Knowing about these rights helps people with postpartum depression. They can use them to get the care and adjustments they need to do well.


How long can you get disability for postpartum depression?

If postpartum depression makes it hard for you to work full-time for 12 months, you might get SSD benefits. These benefits last as long as you need them and meet the program’s rules.

What is the process for qualifying for disability benefits for postpartum depression?

To get SSD benefits for postpartum depression, you must be disabled from work for a year. The SSA looks at your medical records and symptoms to see if you qualify.

What kind of medical evidence is required for a postpartum depression disability claim?

The SSA checks your medical records for symptoms, treatments, and how you’re doing now. They might also do a mental check-up. The results help your SSD claim.

What workplace rights and protections are available for individuals with postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a disability under the ADA. It lets you ask for changes at work, like a different schedule or a quieter space. The PDA also stops employers from treating you unfairly because of it.

What types of reasonable accommodations can be provided for employees with postpartum depression?

For postpartum depression, you can ask for things like more breaks, a different work schedule, or time off for therapy. You might also get to work from home or have other changes to your job.

What leave options are available for individuals with postpartum depression?

The FMLA might give you 12 weeks off to get better, and your job is still there when you return. Other laws could let you have even more time off as needed.

Where can individuals with postpartum depression find legal assistance?

If you need help with disability benefits or your job rights, a disability lawyer can help. They make sure your case is right and can fight for you if your claim is denied. You can also get help from places like A Better Balance’s legal helpline for free advice.

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