Getting Disability for Bipolar Disorder

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a number of conditions to be severe enough to prevent you from working. Regardless of the condition, all are subject to evaluation and must meet certain criteria to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Though most of the conditions listed by the SSA as disabling are permanent or expected to result in death, those that are not require evidence showing that the condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year. Our dedicated Social Security Disability lawyers are here to help and support you during this time.

Bipolar Disorder Disabilities

Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic depression, is an affective disorder that produces both depressive (low) feelings and manic (elated) mood swings. Changes in a person’s mood may occur several times a day to a few times a year.

There are three types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I – significant mood swings, resulting in severe and/or dangerous episodes
  • Bipolar II – less severe mania, still leading to irritability and/or changes in functioning
  • Cyclothymia – the mildest form of bipolar disorder with less disruptive highs and lows

SSA Criteria for Bipolar Disorder

Affective disorders are considered mental disorders by the SSA and are evaluated by severity levels. To qualify for either SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the following requirements must be met:

  • Persistent conditions of depression (at least four medically documented):
    • Loss of interest
    • Change in appetite
    • Sleep disturbance
    • Psychomotor agitation (unintentional motions caused by anxiety, e.g. pacing)
    • Decreased energy
    • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
    • Difficulty thinking
    • Thoughts of suicide
    • Hallucinations or paranoid thinking
  • Persistent conditions of manic behavior (at least three medically documented):
    • Hyperactivity
    • Pressure of speech
    • Flight of ideas
    • Inflated self esteem
    • Decreased need for sleep
    • Easy distractibility
    • Involvement in high-risk activities for pain
    • Hallucinations or paranoid thinking
  • Bipolar disorder with both manic and depressive syndromes
  • Inability to maintain (at least two of the following):
    • Daily activities without restriction
    • Social functioning
    • Concentration or pace
    • A period of time without episodes
  • Medically documented history of two years of chronic affective disorder limiting the ability to perform basic daily activities as a result of (one of the following):
    • Repeated episodes
    • A lasting disease process that doesn’t allow for even minimal mental or environmental changes
    • A one-year history of not being able to function outside of a highly supportive living arrangement

Get Help With Your Bipolar Disorder Disability Claim

If you have bipolar disorder, you know how much the symptoms can disrupt your life and ability to work. While the SSA classifies bipolar disorder as a disabling condition, it may deny your claim if your symptoms don’t appear to be severe. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, it’s our goal to help you get benefits, even if the SSA initially denies your claim.

Don’t let fear of paying attorney’s fees keep you from calling our Social Security Disability lawyers. We use the No Fee Guarantee®, and that means you don’t pay us any money unless we get SSD benefits for you and your family. Don’t wait to get the help you need—contact us by dialing (866) 684-3388 today.