Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder? You Can Receive Disability Benefits

by | Aug 22, 2023 | SSD Benefits

The chances of getting disability for bipolar disorder are high if your condition impairs your ability to function in a work environment. You may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if you meet the evaluation criteria listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book for mental impairments.

What does the evaluation criteria look like? An applicant’s bipolar disorder should include severe limitations of daily activities, the lack of ability to interact with others, and/or repeated and extended “episodes of decompensation” that impair your ability to perform daily activities.

Need immediate assistance applying for Social Security Disability benefits? Complete this form for a free evaluation!

What Bipolar Disorder Factors Qualify You For SSDI

Any individuals with bipolar disorder can be eligible for disability benefits if their illness is constant and restricts their capacities. However, the SSA has established that an applicant with bipolar disorder must show they have the symptoms and limitations listed in the official disability listing for bipolar disorder.

Furthermore, an applicant’s bipolar disorder should have at least three or more of the following symptoms:

  • Tendency to speak rapidly or frenziedly
  • Flight of ideas
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Distractibility
  • Involvement in activities with a high probability of painful consequences that are not recognized
  • Psychomotor agitation or increase in goal-directed activity

You must also present medical documentation that you have limitations that prevent you from working. This must include either an extreme limitation in one of the following areas or a severe limitation in two or more of the following areas of mental functioning:

  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • Interacting with others with appropriate behavior
  • Concentrating and being able to finish tasks
  • Adapting to change or managing oneself

Do you not meet the criteria listed above? The SSA may still approve your claim if you satisfy other criteria, as listed below.

Important Alternatives That Can Help Your Claim

A person with bipolar filing for disability benefits can support their claim in other ways. Consider these methods:

– Obtain medical history documenting at least two years of bipolar disorder that reflect the inability to perform basic work activities.

– Demonstrate that residual illness treatment has caused additional adjustment that even a minimal increase in mental demands would cause you to decompensate.

– Explain that ongoing medical treatment has diminished the symptoms and signs of the mental disorder.

– Prove that you are incapable of functioning outside a supportive livelihood for the foreseeable time. This means having minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or new demands that are not part of your current daily life.

If some of the situations listed above apply to you and you meet the qualifications, there is a high chance of SSDI approval. You may also qualify for benefits on the basis of recurring episodes of decompensation.

What Are Recurring Episodes Of Decompensation?

Another important element related to bipolar disorders is the presence of “episodes of decompensation.” The SSA defines episodes of decompensation as “exacerbations or temporary increases in symptoms or signs accompanied by a loss of adaptive functioning, as manifested by difficulties in performing activities of daily living, maintaining social relationships, or maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.”

Episodes of decompensation is one of the elements included in the impairment listings in the SSA Blue Book. Establishing the fact that you have periods where your ability to function is severely impaired can help you in your claim to prove your inability to work and your inability to engage in normal activities.

To qualify for SSDI on this basis, a claimant’s evidence usually must show that decompensation episodes occur:

  • At least 3 times within a year, or
  • An average of once every 4 months, and
  • Last at least 2 weeks each time.

You might be able to show evidence of decompensation episodes that happen more often but endure for shorter periods of time, or vice versa.

Connect With Disability Apply To Get Help From A Representative

Applying for disability benefits with a bipolar disorder diagnosis can be a complicated and intimidating process if you’re applying alone. Every case is different, and an experienced disability advocacy service like Disability Apply is helpful to have in your corner to support your case.

Hiring a qualified SSDI representative may be in your best interest to help guide you through the application or appeals processes. We encourage you to reach out to us to determine the best method to increase your chances of getting disability for bipolar disorder.

Connect with us to discuss your situation and receive the benefits you or your loved one deserve. Complete this form to get started!

Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    1. Do you expect to be out of work for at least 12 months?

    2. Did you earn taxable income for 5 of the last 10 years?

    3. Are you currently receiving disability benefits?

    4. Have you seen a doctor within the last 12 months?

    5. Are you currently working with a disability advocate?

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