Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits If You Have Bipolar Disorder

SSDI benefits for bi-polar disorderBipolar disorder is a mental health condition that has drastic effects on a person’s life. It impacts an individual's wellbeing, and potentially their family life and ability to work. However, making a successful claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit based on bipolar disorder is difficult without extremely good medical evidence from either a psychologist or psychiatrist, or preferably both. 

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, previously referred to as manic-depressive illness, is a mental condition characterized by cycles of extreme euphoria followed by bouts of acute depression. It affects both men and women. There are four types of bipolar disorder, all of which can have dramatic effects on an individual's moods, energy, and activity levels. Some of the symptoms of this condition include hopelessness, anxiety, irritability, overconfidence, guilt, sadness, risky behavior, fatigue, and chronic pain.

How to Qualify for SSDI If You Suffer With Bipolar Disorder

Many applicants for SSDI due to bipolar disorder are on some type anti-depressant medication prescribed by a family doctor or general practitioner. Although these medications would appear to support the applicant in fact suffers from this mental illness, medications alone will likely do little in establishing disability under Social Security guidelines unless an individual receives treatment from or has at least been evaluated by a mental health professional.

Having a lengthy period of treatment with a mental health professional can make a claim for SSDI benefits much stronger.

If a person files for benefits due to bipolar disorder, it's likely the Social Security Administration will set up a comprehensive examination with a psychologist to assist in determining whether the applicant is disabled. Unfortunately, these doctors are paid by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and rarely do their opinions support a claim for disability. Therefore, it's absolutely imperative an individual seek his or her own treatment or at least an evaluation with a mental health care professional prior to applying for benefits.

The SSA has specific requirements for SSDI qualification due to bipolar disorder. The claimant must have a history of consistent symptomatic manic episodes, depressive syndromes, or both. In addition, a person must establish that he or she has at least two of these restrictions because of bipolar disorder:

  • Severe limitations in his daily activity
  • Inability to interact with others in a normal fashion
  • Recurring episodes of decompensation, which are periods of deterioration, which last for lengthy periods of time

If you're applying for SSDI benefits for bipolar disorder, or your application has been denied, you should contact our experienced Social Security attorneys for legal advice and assistance with your claim. Call our Ormond Beach office today to schedule your free consultation. We can help you navigate the confusing SSA process.