Understanding Episodes of Decompensation, Mental Illness & Social Security Disability Benefits

As we continue our discussion of mental illness and Social Security disability benefits, it has probably become clear that getting a mental health disability claim approved comes with slightly different requirements that getting a physical disability claim approved. When applying for disability benefits for a mental illness such as schizophrenia, autism, anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, you may have to prove something called “episodes of decompensation.”  

What are episodes of decompensation?

Episodes of decompensation are simply times in which your mental health issue is not in control despite your efforts to treat it. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), an episode of decompensation takes place when your regular symptoms become worse, when you lose your ability to deal with life changes and stress, and when you lose function when it comes to everyday activities and responsibilities.

These episodes have a number of causes, ranging from increases in stress, changes in lifestyle, changes in medication, or progression of the disease.

How can I prove episodes of decompenstion?

It is not enough to talk about how episodes of decompensation have affected you during your interview – you need to document your episodes and provide medical evidence that they have occurred. Luckily, those who struggle with mental illness will often have this evidence on hand in the form of doctors’ visits during these difficult times, changes in therapy, or changes in medication.

The SSA wants you to prove these episodes as part of proving that your mental illness is too severe for you to continue working. If you have multiple episodes of decompensation, they see that you are not stable enough to hold a job. Generally, the SSA looks for at least three episodes of decompensation per year, with each episode lasting at least two weeks.

Dallas Social Security disability attorneys

It can be difficult to prove a mental illness is too severe for you to continue working – especially if you are unfamiliar with the guidelines and rules set forth by the Social Security Administration. At Morgan & Weisbrod, our Texas disability attorneys can help you better understand your case and collect the evidence you need to prove that your mental health prevents you from continuing your career. To learn more, call us today at 800-800-6353.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law