Can Pregnancy Really Qualify You for Disability?

Published on: June 30, 2015

Pregnancy and DisabilityIn an earlier post, we discussed various reasons you might qualify for disability. We stated that one of those reasons is pregnancy (but only due to other disabling conditions that it might create). As we said there, it’s strange to think of one of the most beautiful, life-giving parts of life could create a disability in the mother, but from time to time, it can happen.

Let us say it here so that we can be completely clear: for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, pregnancy by itself does not qualify you to receive benefits. While pregnancy puts your body through some of the same rigors and pains as other disabilities (and often creates some of the same physical restrictions), it doesn’t qualify because it is not expected to exceed 12 months or lead to your death.

In some states (such as New Hampshire and California), there are temporary, state-provided benefits for pregnancy as a disability, which if you live in one of those states, it is worth looking into. However, for those of you here in Florida, there is no type of short-term disability available to pregnant women. State laws vary, so if you do live in another state, be sure to check with your local government to see your own options.

However, as we said before, pregnancy can lead to other conditions that might qualify you for disability insurance. Pregnancy can be a very risky proposition for some, and for others the disabilities are entirely unforeseen. Two of these are injuries related to the pregnancy and postpartum depression.

Postpartum Depression

It is very likely that you’ve at least heard of postpartum depression before. This is the depression that some mothers experience after having a child, the feelings of guilt and sadness that occur after the childbirth. However, there is a distinction: is the depression a form of the so-called “baby blues” (which go away after two weeks or so) or is it a more severe, disabling form of depression?

If the effects of postpartum are of the temporary “baby blues” variety, no, it is not a disability. However, if the symptoms last longer and become chronic, they may qualify you for disability benefits. It’s extremely difficult to get benefits from this condition; so be sure to see a doctor and a psychiatrist on a regular basis to ensure not only that your postpartum depression has become more permanent but that, hopefully, you can get the treatment necessary to avoid the disability altogether (if possible).

Physical Issues

Giving birth, as most know, is a physically demanding process. However, it can create other complications for the mother as well. As we’ve stated before, diabetes can qualify you for disability, and pregnancies can complicate, worsen, or even create this disability in women. Worse, even if the gestational diabetes isn’t a permanent condition, it puts you at risk to have diabetes in the future. That’s a frightening possibility, and hopefully it doesn’t result in that complication for you, but it can happen. If your pregnancy caused you to develop permanent diabetes, you may qualify for SSDI.

Not only is there the risk of diabetes, but there are other physical risks as well. If the pregnancy results in injury or lasting harm to the mother, then there’s a possibility those issues might create a lasting disability in the mother. If a breech birth or other complication creates a disabling injury, then that injury might qualify a mother for disability benefits.

However, we’ll say it again: disability for pregnancy and for any resulting injuries is relatively rare. It’s not impossible, but it is very difficult. There are certain conditions related to pregnancy that might cause a disability. As for the pregnancy itself, you cannot get SSDI for it alone. If you have any questions or think that your pregnancy has disabled you, call us. We’re here to help.



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