Bipolar disorder's cycles of depression and mania, with possible hyperactivity, rapid speech and thinking, euphoria, and poor judgement can make holding a job impossible for some.
Fortunately, if you meet certain requirements or are unable to function at a level that allows you to hold a basic job, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Our Social Security Disability attorneys can help you through the process.
SAA Requirements for Bipolar Disorder
The first step in qualifying for disability benefits for bipolar disorder is to meet the SSA's Blue Book listing (12.04).
To qualify for benefits under this listing, an individual must have medical documentation of at least three of the following:
- Accelerated, rapid or frantic speech
- Fleeting ideas or racing thoughts
- Inflated self-esteem
- Reduced need for sleep
- Easily distracted
- Increased reward- or pleasure-seeking activity or purposeless physical activity like pacing or tapping fingers
- Involvement in activities with a high probability of unrecognized painful consequences
The individual must also suffer from extreme limitation of one or marked limitation in two areas of mental functioning:
- Applying, remembering or comprehending information
- Interacting with other people
- Concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace
- Adapting or managing oneself
If the individual does not meet the criteria outlined above, he or she may be able to qualify for benefits if his or her mental disorder is considered serious and persistent, with a documented history at least two years of evidence of medical treatment, therapy for mental health, or involvement in a highly structured, ongoing setting that diminishes signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder.
There must also be evidence of marginal adjustment, showing they have minimal capacity to adapt to environmental changes or demands outside of normal daily life.
If Bipolar Disorder Prevents You from Working
If you do not meet the strict requirements of the Blue Book listing, the SSA will also evaluate to what extent your disorder impacts your ability to work.
The SSA will conduct a mental residual functional capacity (RFC) test, which will evaluate your ability to concentrate, remember details, follow directions, socialize and engage in other skills that are required in most jobs.
This evaluation will show the type of work the SSA believes you could do based on your condition. This may be skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled.
If you are found to be unable to perform even unskilled work, benefits may be offered through a medical-vocational allowance.
Help with Your Bipolar Disorder Disability Claim
To support your bipolar disorder's impact on your ability to work, you will need to provide the SSA with detailed medical documentation.
Your physician should submit your psychiatric medical records, which state your history, severe and/or violent episodes of mania, and all treatments undergone, including medication.
Your symptoms and their effects on daily life should be documented, as well as how effective medication is/was and side effects experienced.
If you are having trouble filing your SSD claim for bipolar disorder or have been denied and wish to file an appeal, the Phoenix social security disability attorneys at Dayes Law Firm PC can guide you through the process, working to help you get the benefits you need.