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Can Someone With Bipolar Disorder Qualify For Disability

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Helping Clients Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder Obtain Social Security Benefits

Can you get Disability for bipolar disorder, depression?

Bipolar disorder is one of the most prevalent psychological conditions for which people apply forSocial Security Disability. Typically, bipolar disorder is diagnosed by a family doctor, treating psychologist, or psychiatrist. In general terms, bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of manic episodes preceded or followed by major depressive episodes.

Bipolar Disorder And Functional Ability

The predictors and mechanisms of disability in BD are still only partially known. Numerous demographic, clinical, and neurocognitive factors are associated with disability . Acute illness episodes strongly affect functioning, with the exception of hypomania . A major problem in BD is the recurrent nature of the illness, which involves multiple episodes over time. Even though most patients reach syndromal remission after an acute episode, almost all will also have at least one new episode in the following years . Besides the disrupting impact of multiple episodes, the length of time with symptoms is an often-overlooked factor that affects functional outcomes. Patients with BD-I or -II have been found to spend half of their time with symptoms in long term . Most of the symptomatic time involves subsyndromal depressive symptoms, but even modest changes in the severity of depression appear to be associated with changes in functional impairment and disability .

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent comorbid diagnoses among BD patients. At least half of BD patients will suffer an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, and a third will manifest an anxiety disorder at any point of time . Anxiety commonly covaries with depression , but according to a recent meta-analysis, as much as 35% of euthymic BD patients have an anxiety disorder .

What Medical Evidence Do You Need For Disability Based On Bipolar

When you begin your disability application, the SSA will ask you to list the names, locations, and dates you’ve visited any doctors, hospitals, or mental health professionals. With your permission, the SSA will request medical records from the doctor and clinics where you’ve received treatment. Your psychiatric record should include:

  • your medication history, including any mood-stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants that you’ve tried, such as lithium, Seroquel, or Zoloft
  • your doctor’s or counselor’s observations about how you’re feeling and acting during a visit
  • mental status examinations showing any abnormalities in your thinking
  • any hospitalizations for symptoms of bipolar disorder, and
  • other treatments you may have tried, such as electroconvulsive therapy .

Because people respond differently to the medications used to treat bipolar disorder, your medical records should also include notes about whether your medications are effective at treating your symptoms, along with any side effects you might have. For example, one of the most common side effects of Depakote, a mood-stabilizer, is drowsiness. If you’re taking Depakote successfully to manage your mood, but it’s causing you to nap frequently, Social Security is required to take that into consideration when determining if you’re disabled.

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Meeting A Disability Listing With Schizoaffective Disorder

Social Security evaluates schizoaffective disorder under its impairment listing for “schizophrenic spectrum and other psychotic disorders,” listing 12.03 .

The first requirement is that an individual with schizoaffective disorder must have evidence in their medical records that they have one or more of the following symptoms at least on a regular or intermittent basis:

  • delusions or hallucinations
  • illogical thinking, as evidenced through disorganized speech, or
  • grossly disorganized behavior or catatonia .

The second step is that their records must show that they have severe or extreme limitations in certain areas. They must have either one extreme limitation or two “marked” limitations in the following areas:

  • adapting or managing oneself
  • interacting with others
  • concentrating on tasks , and
  • learning, understanding, and remembering information .

Applicants who aren’t currently suffering from extreme or severe limitations in the above areas because of living in a highly protective situation or undergoing intense therapy can still provide certain documentation to fulfill the listing. They must show that:

  • Their schizoaffective disorder has been serious and persistent over a period of at least two years.
  • They are undergoing ongoing medical treatment, mental health therapy, or living in a highly structured or protected setting, and
  • Their adaptation is fragile, meaning that they have minimal capacity to adapt to changes or new mental demands.

Applying For Disability Benefits With A Mental Illness

Social Security Disability Benefits for Bipolar

Mental and psychological disabilities are among the conditions that can qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration . You may qualify with severe depression, bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, or another mental illness that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.

Social Security disability benefits can cover everyday living expenses, medical bills, and other financial obligations. Benefits are paid monthly and can alleviate many of your financial worries, making it possible for you to get by without income from employment.

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Qualifying For Benefits With Bipolar Disorder

The Social Security Administration maintains a listing of impairments. This list describes medical and mental health conditions that are considered severe enough to prevent an individual from participating in substantial gainful activity . There is a list for both adults and for children.

Bipolar disorder is listed in the SSAs listing of impairments. To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as an individual with bipolar disorder, you must submit evidence of the following:

1. Medical documentation of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, characterized by at least three of the following symptoms:

  • Pressured speech

How To Qualify For Social Security Benefits For Bipolar Disorder

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you know how it can interfere with your ability to maintain a normal routine and healthy relationships. Likewise, it can limit someones ability to sustain the concentration and pace required to work or handle interactions with others in the workplace. If your bipolar disorder makes you unable to work, you should consult an experienced lawyer about a Social Security Disability claim.

You should first be ready to tell your attorney about the symptoms of your bipolar disorder. Generally, the disorder involves alternating phases of mania and depression.

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What If My Claim For Disability Insurance Benefits For Bipolar Disorder Is Denied

How to Get Disability Benefits for Depression or Bi-Polar Disorder

If your claim for disability insurance benefits is denied, you have options. You will likely have the opportunity to submit an appeal to the insurance company or plan administrator. At that time, you can provide additional evidence detailing the severity of your bipolar disorder, your restrictions, and your treatment regimen. Such evidence can include pharmaceutical records, psychotherapy notes, group therapy records, hospitalization files, and neuropsychological evaluation reports, amongst other things. If the insurance company or plan administrator still refuses to overturn its denial of your claim on appeal, you will then have the option to file a lawsuit in court for the benefits due.

If you have bipolar disorder and are considering filing a claim for disability insurance benefits, it is crucial that you consult with an expert, like the attorneys at DeBofsky Law, who can advise you on your plans specific terms and limitations. The attorneys at DeBofsky Law are here to help you navigate the complicated process of applying for disability insurance benefits so that you can focus on your mental health.

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How Long Will My Disability Insurance Benefits Last For Bipolar Disorder

While most disability plans pay benefits for as long as you remain unable to work until you reach normal retirement age, disability benefits for substance use disorders and other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, are often limited to a shorter payment period up to a maximum period of typically 24 or 36 months. Nevertheless, your disability benefits cannot be limited based on bipolar disorder or any other mental illness if you have a co-morbid medical condition that is also disabling. If that is the case, you must advise the insurance company of your co-morbid medical condition as well. In addition, some plans do not include specific mental health conditions or cognitive disorders in their lists of diagnoses subject to the limitation. It is essential that you understand the particular terms and restrictions contained in your plan.

Ssdi Denials And Appeals

If your disability claim is denied, as many initially are, then you should file an appeal. Your appeal should clearly state why you want the claim reconsidered and why you should be considered disabled. A disability lawyer can help you through the entire appeal process and represent you at the administrative law judge hearing if your first level of appeal is denied. Before your hearing, the lawyer will develop the evidence to properly support your case. Your lawyer will know how to get the statements from your doctor and other evidence that will best show your limitations.

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Predictors Of Being Granted A Disability Pension

As only a few previous cross-sectional studies have examined long-term work disability and disability pension among BD patients, the factors predicting these are not well-known.

Older age

Older age was the only strong independent sociodemographic predictor of being granted a disability pension. The risk of disability pension among patients aged over 40 was more than twice that among the younger patients. Age was also strongly associated with disability pension in our 18-month study, as in former studies . Increasing age can affect the probability of being granted a disability pension in many ways. Older age is associated with longer duration and an accumulating burden of BD. However, age was significant even after adjusting for the duration of the illness, number of manic or depressive phases, and number of hospital treatment periods, so it also seems to have an effect independently of illness factors. Increasing age associates with an accumulating burden of physical illnesses and may also affect the way in which patients see their work ability, as age strongly correlated with subjectively perceived disability. The evaluating psychiatrists may also have a lower threshold for recommending disability pensions for older patients, and older patients may find pensioning more acceptable.

Bipolar subtype



Subjective work ability

Is Bipolar A Serious Mental Illness

Disability Planner: How You Apply For Disability Benefits

Health experts class bipolar disorder as a serious mental illness, along with schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. They have this classification because all three conditions can significantly impair a persons quality of life. People also present with symptoms relatively early, so their mental illnesses can interrupt their lives for many years.

Almost 90% of people with bipolar say medications help them manage their condition. However, establishing the issue can be challenging, with just 25% of people receiving an accurate diagnosis in less than three years. People with bipolar often spend up to 10 years waiting for the correct diagnosis.

When its left untreated, bipolar can cause severe problems. People with bipolar usually live 9.2 years less than people without the condition. As many as 20% of people with bipolar commit suicide. They are also more likely to behave impulsively and engage in risky behaviors, including substance abuse and unsafe sexual practices. People with bipolar also struggle to maintain positive relationships with friends and family members.

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Living With Bipolar Disorder You May Qualify For Ssdi

On Behalf of Midwest Disability, P.A. | Sep 23, 2021 | Social Security Disability Benefits For Mental Conditions |

Living with a mental illness can affect each person with an illness differently. Even if two people have the same or similar diagnoses, it does not mean that the condition will affect them both in the same way. As a result, someone with bipolar disorder may be able to hold down steady employment, while someone else with the same condition may not be able to work at all.

In cases where bipolar disorder prevents a person from working, the idea of applying for Social Security Disability benefits may cross that persons mind. The Social Security Administration does account of mood disorders in its listing of qualifying disabling conditions. Because bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, someone with this condition may qualify. However, there are still stipulations to meet.

Some requirements that the SSA looks for in these cases include the following:

Filing For Social Security Disability With A Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

If an individuals Bipolar Disorder is constant and impairs all ability to function in a work environment, that person may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Any individual with Bipolar Disorder can be eligible for disability benefits if he/she meets the evaluation criteria listed in the Social Security Administrations Blue Book, and if he/she has received a medical vocational disability endorsement based on the person’s residual functional ability, education and age.

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Qualifying For Disability With Bipolar Disorder

Becoming approved for Social Security Disability benefits with bipolar disorder alone is rather quite difficult. This is due to the fact that many mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder are hard to validate and can be controllable through medication and/or psychotherapy. Generally people who are approved for benefits with bipolar disorder also have other disabling conditions such as schizophrenia, clinical depression, PTSD, etc.

The Social Security Administrations Blue Book lists the requirements for specific disabilities to qualify for disability benefits. Listing 12.00 deals with mental disorders and section 12.04 of the Blue Book lists the requirements necessary for an individual with an affective disorder to qualify for Social Security Disability. An applicants bipolar disorder must satisfy requirements A and B or must satisfy requirement C.

Requirement A

1.) Symptoms of depression at least 4 of the following:

  • Appetite disturbance in addition to weight change
  • Difficulty thinking, focusing or concentrating
  • Loss of interest in the majority of activities
  • Psychomotor retardation or agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Sleep disturbance and inconsistency

Does Bipolar Worsen With Age

Can Bipolar Disorder be a Basis for Disability Benefits?

Yes. The condition of patients suffering from bipolar disorder worsens with age. This is due to several reasons. First, the symptoms of bipolar disorder itself become more severe with age. This is because the brain goes through changes as a person grows older. As it is, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are heightened during the stress of daily life. When you add the stress of getting older and therefore facing more responsibilities and demands, your condition is bound to get worse. Second, with age there are more chances of suffering from illnesses related to aging like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. This further aggravates the illness. For the above reasons, the condition of the patient has to be very well monitored during aging..

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Contact Our Mckinney Social Security Disability Benefits Attorneys

Showing that bipolar disorder has caused you to be disabled is not always easy. If you are suffering from this type of mental illness, the Law Offices of Coats & Todd can make sure you provide the necessary documentation of your treatment and evidence showing how your ability to work has been affected. We will make sure you take the right steps to receive the Social Security disability benefits you need. Set up a free consultation and case review today by contacting us at 972-671-9922. We provide legal help with benefits for disabilities related to mental health for clients in Dallas County, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Dallas, Denton, Denton County, Lewisville, Collin County, and Allen.

How Long Does It Take To Get Disability For Bipolar Disorder

The process for getting disability for bipolar disorder can be very challenging. You have to demonstrate to the Social Security Administration that you cannot work due to your bipolar disorder. The amount of time it takes to get disability for bipolar disorder depends on your situation. You can file your claim when you are able to work, but you will have to stop working at the onset of your bipolar symptoms. The SSA will then determine if you are able to work in the future. If you cannot work, then you will become eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits..

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Bipolar Disorder Disability How To Prove Your Claim To Receive Disability Benefits

January 30, 2016 By

Bipolar disorder is a disabling condition that prevents millions of people from being able to handle everyday activities, including their ability to earn a living. A person with bipolar goes from being depressed to a state of euphoria in a matter of moments. This up-and-down condition can make employment difficult even with medical treatment.

The unfortunate reality is that disability claims for mental impairments such as bipolar disorder are frequently rejected. Whether they are filed on an insurance policy, through the Veterans Administration, or Social Security disability programs, the chances of denial on an initial application are high.

Even the most medically supported and valid claims for bipolar-related disabilities may be denied initially. This is all the more reason why, as a claimant, you should to seek the help of a skilled and experienced disability lawyer.

Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

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The Social Security Administration will often provide benefits for your disorder if you have the symptoms they have predetermined as the symptoms that qualify you for Social Security benefits. The administration will take note of your symptoms, along with your medical records, testing and evaluations to determine if you qualify.

Some of the symptoms that can prohibit your ability to work include speaking faster than normal, increased changes in thoughts or ideas and being easily distracted. Other symptoms of bipolar disorder include the inability to sleep, being intentionally involved in risky activities, having a falsely increased self-esteem and being easily agitated. If these symptoms affect your day-to-day life, or your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security benefits.

You will need to demonstrate that you are unable to do certain things and that your limitation is due to your disorder. For instance, you will need to show that you are unable to manage your day-to-day needs.

This can include not being able to finish tasks, the inability to understand instructions, the inability to interact with others socially or the inability to take care of yourself.

You can still qualify for benefits if you have been cared for by others, whether in a facility or through a structured environment created for you. You will have to show that you do not have the ability to adapt to any changes around you that are not already in your environment.

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