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Bipolar Disorder and Social Security Disability Benefits

Attorney for Social Security Disability Claims in Illinois

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder or manic-depressive disorder, is a mood disorder characterized by the fluctuation of mood between the extremes of mania and depression. The fluctuation flows in cycles, which varies from person to person anywhere from days to years. The fluctuations typically occur abruptly and without warning, making it extremely difficult for those with bipolar disorder to live normal lives. Because of these variations, bipolar disorder can be especially difficult to diagnose and often is misdiagnosed as unipolar depression or other mood disorders.

Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits If I Suffer From Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is absolutely recognized by the Social Security Administration! However, it can be very difficult to win a Social Security disability benefits case for bipolar disorder. Unlike many physical conditions where a judge can actually look at you and tell right away how and where you are suffering, bipolar disorder is an unseen mental condition. For this reason, it is imperative when you are applying for disability benefits to make sure that you are seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist regularly and that they are writing down all of your complaints and issues. Having your doctor fill out a Mental Impairment Evaluation can be especially helpful when applying for disability benefits with bipolar disorder. If your doctor refuses to fill one out, which is fairly typical for bipolar disorder claimants, make sure that your family members or anyone that you are close with provides the Social Security Administration with detailed information about how bipolar disorder limits your daily functioning.

If you suffer from bipolar disorder and it is preventing you from working for at least 12 months, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits (whether SSDI or SSI). When you apply for disability benefits with bipolar disorder, the Social Security Administration will first determine whether your condition is severe enough to meet a listing. If you meet a listing you will be found disabled. If you do not meet a listing, the Social Security Administration will then evaluate your residual functional capacity (the most work that you can do despite your medical condition(s)) and determine whether you are entitled to disability benefits.

Is There A Specific Listing For Bipolar Disorder?

The Social Security Administration recognizes bipolar disorder under Listing of Impairments 12.04: Affective disorders which can be found on the Social Security Administration website. However, because most of the listing is structured using medical terminology, it can be quite difficult to know whether you will meet the listing for bipolar disorder. If you or a family member suffers from bipolar disorder and are unable to work and want to know more about whether you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits, contact Pearson Disability Law, LLC.

If I Do Not Meet The Listing, Is There Another Way To Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

Yes! If you do not meet Listing 12.04 and bipolar disorder is preventing you from working, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration will proceed with your case by evaluating your Residual Functional Capacity. To do this, the Administration will determine the most amount of work that you can do despite your limitations. The only way Social Security will understand how debilitating your symptoms can be, is if you are regularly seeing your psychologist and/or psychiatrist and talking with them about how you feel. Your doctors must document severity of your symptoms in their records whenever you visit.

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