Social Security Disability and Bipolar Disorder Including Symptoms and Difficulty With Claim

Getting Social Security Disability for those with Bipolar Disorder has some unique challenges which I will discuss on this page.  I will also address the symptoms from bipolar disorder and how they can cause limitations in one's ability to work.  Lastly, I will discuss how to win a SSDI claim for Bipolar disorder.

If you suffer from this condition and are pursuing SSDI or SSI benefits, it would be a good idea to take a look at the medical listing of impairments for mental disorders. If you meet or equal a listed impairment then you will be found disabled.  To be found disabled based on meeting or equaling one of the listings, it almost always takes a detailed doctor's opinion stating you meet or equal the listings and why.  Even if you do not meet or equal a listed impairment you can still be found disabled if you can show the limitations imposed on individual from the Bipolar disorder prevent the claimant from working in almost any capacity.

Handling an SSDI or SSI Case for Bi-Polar Disorder

I know from representing claimants in Bipolar SSD cases that with these cases there are a few things that make a disability claim for Bipolar Disorder difficult.  If you have any questions e-mail me.  Those with the condition can experience great highs and lows in there mood.  This can be a problem because often times when the individual is in a "high" state they can be quite productive and even overly confident.  When a person is in this state they may have a surface appearance of being able to work on a full time basis.  Those making the determination at SSA may mistake this "high" behavior and find the individual capable of work.  Some difficulties many SSDI lawyers have with handling bipolar cases can include noncompliance with medication, substance abuse, difficult interaction with claimant due to manic episodes, and often times can be younger individuals. Even though there are challenges for a lawyer representing a claimant with bipolar disorder it can be much more difficult for a person with bipolar disorder to represent themselves in a Social Security disability case due to the symptoms of disorder.  Another problem in these cases is that people with this condition often have very sporadic work records.  This can cause work quarter issues for eligibility.  I also find that individuals suffering from this condition tend to work sporadically as the case is going on leading SSA to believe they can work.  Another potential problem is many people when in a manic episode will deny they have a problem.  It is also common for those with this condition to abuse drugs or alcohol and Social Security may determine that this is the problem and deny SSDI or SSI benefits.

There are many possible symptoms from Bipolar Disorder that can affect ones ability to work.  In a manic episode the individual may experience over confidence, racing thoughts, increased energy, irritability, sleeplessness, inability to concentrate, denial of condition, drug abuse, bad judgement, euphoria, or aggressive behavior.  In a depressive episode symptoms may include hopelessness, suicide thoughts, sleep difficulties, helplessness, guilt, difficulty with memory, difficulty with concentration, irritability, physical symptoms of pain, overly sad, weight gain or loss, and decreased energy.  The treatment for the condition is usually medication and therapy.  There are different degrees of this illness and many people under proper treatment can function quit well while others even under proper treatment may have a difficult time even doing day to day things.



Symptoms of Bipolar disorder

As mentioned earlier bipolar disorder has periods of highs and lows. The highs are called mania or manic episodes. The lows are cold depressive episodes. Symptoms of mania include being easily distracted, fast talking, racing thoughts, and ability to stay on subject, restlessness, trouble sleeping, overconfidence, high risk behaviors, and impulsive decisions. Symptoms of depressive episodes include loss of interest in prior activities, isolation, excessive worrying, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and remembering and thoughts of suicide.

Some statistics about bipolar disorder. In the United States, 2.2% of the adult population have severe bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder frequently shows up in the late teens to early 20s. Those suffering from bipolar disorder life expectancy is 25 years less than the rest of the population.

If you want to speak to a lawyer that handles bipolar ssd claims call me at 1-877-527-5529.

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How to Win SSDI Claim for Bipolar Disorder

So how do you give yourself the best chance to win your case for Social Security Disability for Bipolar Disorder?  Make sure you have all your medical records in to SSA.  This should include all hospital visits, treating doctor notes, and an RFC from your treating psychiatrist.  If you abuse drugs and alcohol the RFC filled out by your doctor should be the limitations you have from bipolar disorder absent the drugs or alcohol and there should be a statement saying so on the RFC.  To understand how Social Security determines if you are disabled make sure to read the rest of this site. 

It is important when presenting a case for bipolar disorder that both the manic and depressive episodes are covered in detail. This includes a report and/or mental RFC completed by the treating psychiatrist and a thorough description by the claimant of his or her symptoms and how it affects their daily living. It is quite common in bipolar disorder cases for there to be gaps in the claimant's treatment. Because gaps in treatment are common in bipolar cases it will not kill your case to have these gaps, but it does help if you have an explanation for the periods the claimant is not treatment.

Another important aspect of bipolar disorder cases is addressing the issue of alcohol and drug abuse. It is very common for those with bipolar disorder to suffer from alcohol or drug abuse. This is significant because one cannot get Social Security disability benefits based on alcohol or drug addiction. However, if someone has bipolar disorder and also has a drug or alcohol addiction they can be awarded Social Security disability benefits if they can show they are disabled based on the symptoms of the bipolar disorder without consideration for the limitations imposed on the individual due to the drugs or alcohol. The best way I can think of to explain this is if the individual were not using drugs or alcohol would they still be disabled. For more on alcohol and drug abuse and SSDI see my page on the subject.

We have attempted to provide up to date and accurate information, however the information in this site is not guaranteed.  No attorney client relationship exist.  The information in this site is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney.
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If you need a lawyer for your ssdi or ssi claim for bipolar disorder call us at 1-877-527-5529.