SSD for Bipolar DisorderBipolar disorder, an illness known for the extreme mood shifts it causes, can make it difficult or even impossible to work. The sudden changes in energy level and focus can make an individual hyperproductive one week and unable to accomplish a single task the next. Because of this and the stress caused by work, some people with bipolar disorder are able to get Social Security Disability benefits.
If you think you may qualify for disability benefits, let’s talk about your options and take the first step. Call Walton Law at 251-455-5819 to set up a consultation now.
Bipolar Disorder in the Blue Book
First, it is important to note that bipolar disorder is listed in the Social Security Listing of Impairments, commonly known as the “Blue Book.” This means that it is possible to get SSD benefits with a bipolar diagnosis. Bipolar disorder is grouped with depressive disorders and other related disorders under 12.04.
To qualify, you must satisfy the requirements of two categories. The first, which everyone must meet, involves having at least three of the following symptoms:
- Pressured speech
- Flight of ideas
- Overly high self-esteem
- Lower need for sleep
- Participation in activities that come with a high risk of negative consequences
- Increased psychomotor agitation or goal-directed activity
If you meet that requirement, you must meet the requirements of one of the other two categories. The first is extreme limitation of one or marked limitation of two of the following areas of functioning:
- Understanding, remembering, and applying information
- Interacting with people
- Concentrating or maintaining your pace
- Adapting or managing yourself
The other category is for those whose disorder is serious and persistent for a period of at least two years. To qualify for this, you must have evidence of:
- Medical treatment, therapy, psychosocial support, or a structured environment that diminishes the symptoms of your disorder
- Minimal ability to adjust to changes in your environment that aren’t already part of your life
Strengthening Your Claim
If you can prove that you qualify under the terms listed above, you have a stronger chance of having your disability application approved. However, how do you prove that? How do you prove that you suffer from increased psychomotor agitation during manic periods or that you struggle with applying information?
That all comes down to creating the strongest application possible. It isn’t enough to simply fill out the paperwork and send it in. You have to have strong medical evidence showing that you qualify under the terms listed in the Blue Book. Your psychiatrist may be able to help you with this, but if they are unfamiliar with Social Security requirements, you may want to seek a second opinion from a psychiatrist who knows what the SSA looks for in disability applications.
How an Attorney Can Help
You should also work with a disability attorney during this time. Working with a lawyer specializes in disability law ensures that they are up-to-date on the latest changes and updates from the SSA. Your attorney should know how the SSA processes applications and what information will get your file approved or denied. They can also help you gather the evidence you need for a stronger case file. Some of their suggestions might include:
- A journal that notes your mood/s and activities each day
- Keeping track of every time your bipolar disorder keeps you from engaging in normal, everyday activities
- A log of your symptoms and how they fluctuate over time
- Detailed information on how your illness has impacted your ability to work
On top of that, an attorney is also very helpful if you have had your application denied. This can be disappointing for applicants, but don’t lose hope. The majority of SSD applications are denied the first time. Your attorney can help you look for weak spots in your file, add supporting documentation and evidence, and demonstrate your inability to work to the SSA. Since bipolar disorder can make it difficult to complete or focus on tasks, entrusting your attorney with these jobs can be very helpful.
Contact Walton Law Today to Get Started
Are you ready to apply for disability benefits but you’re not sure how to begin? Walton Disability is here for you. Find out more about what you need to do by calling us at 251-455-5819 or contacting us online.