While it is possible to get disability payments after suffering a mental or emotional breakdown, it will depend on the circumstances of your condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will only grant benefits if your disability makes it difficult or impossible for you to work—and because the SSA will not grant temporary benefits, your condition must be expected to keep you out of work for 12 months or more in order to qualify for payment.

To qualify for benefits after a period of mental disability, you must show the SSA how the episode contributed to a loss of income. The SSA refers to these periods as “episodes of decompensation,” which can cover a few days to months of time lost from work. Typically, these episodes may include:

  • Aggravated symptoms. While you may have a method of managing your mental health difficulties, there is always a possibility that you will suffer a temporary increase in symptoms that can affect everyday functioning, such as speaking to others, sitting still for long periods, or focusing on your work.
  • Job changes. Patients often need help coping with the strain of their condition by reducing their hours at work, working from home, or otherwise decreasing their stress levels.
  • Increased treatment. It is common for patients to seek alternate or increased treatment to regain control over their lives. You should provide copies of medical records that show a significant change in medication, hospitalizations at Lasting Hope Recovery Center in Omaha or another mental health facility, or an increase in psychological outpatient visits.
  • Relapses. Patients may suffer a single episode of decompensation or repeated relapses that cause unsteady employment. Generally, patients may be approved for payment if they suffer three episodes that last two weeks each within one year or an average of one episode every four months. Since mental illness is a variable condition, the SSA will use your medical records to determine if your episodes qualify for disability payments.

You should be aware that proving the extent of a mental illness to the SSA can be extremely difficult. To find out how we can help you prove your case, send us an email at [email protected]  or call us at (402) 933-5405 today.

Timothy J. Cuddigan (Founder - Retired)
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Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience