While the eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits for physical disabilities is rather straightforward, eligibility related to mental health disorders is somewhat more complex.
Those who struggle with bipolar disorder, commonly known as manic depressive disorder, may find themselves in need of benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) yet left wondering, “is bipolar a disability?”
The short answer to this question is yes. Bipolar disorder is considered a disability under the eligibility requirements of Social Security Disability by the SSA.
However, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, an individual’s bipolar disorder must be determined to be severe enough that it impairs work function and meets a series of specific requirements outlined in the Social Security Administration’s impairment listing for mental disorders.
Bipolar disorder, as classified under the Social Security Administration Blue Book’s impairment listing for mental disorders, is considered a disability under both SSDI and SSI benefit programs.
Whether or not an individual’s specific mental disorder entitles them to benefits under either program is dependent upon the severity of their symptoms, their workplace limitations and loss of abilities, relevant treatment history, mental status evaluations, and psychological testing.
What Are My Chances of Getting Approved for Disability?
According to Social Security Administration data, roughly two-thirds of all applicants seeking disability benefits for bipolar disorder and major clinical depression are approved by the SSA. The probability of being approved for benefits is much higher for applicants who meet the symptomatic and functional criteria outlined in the SSA’s Bipolar Disorder Listing.
However, in instances where a qualified applicant is denied benefits, the application process may require an appeal hearing, which is best handled by an experienced and qualified social security disability attorney.
What’s the Typical Payment for a Bipolar Disability?
There is no specific bipolar disability check amount that an individual should expect to receive if they are approved for SSDI or SSI benefits.
Rather, the amount an individual will receive in disability benefits each month is determined by their average lifetime earnings prior to the onset/diagnosis of their disability, known as average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). Individuals can estimate the disability benefits they are likely to receive using the SSA’s Benefits Planner.
Generally speaking, most social security disability beneficiaries receive between $800 and $1,800 per month, with the average in 2019 being $1,234.
How to Get Disability Benefits with Bipolar Disorder?
Individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder who are interested in getting disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are eligible for benefits under either the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, depending upon their specific needs.
In order to file a disability claim and receive benefits, a prospective applicant must apply for a disability for SSDI or SSI benefits (online or in-person) through the SSA and undergo a disability evaluation.
Applicants seeking social security benefits for bipolar disorder must be able to demonstrate at least three of the following symptoms from the SSA’s Bipolar Disorder Listing:
- Pressured speech (extremely fast and frenzied)
- Flight of ideas (quickly changing and fleeting ideas and thought patterns)
- Inflated self-esteem (defined by beliefs unfounded in reality)
- Decreased need for sleep (atypical sleep patterns)
- Distractibility (inability to pay attention)
- Involvement in activities that have a high probability of painful consequences that are not recognized (risky behavior)
- Increase in goal-directed activity (taking on too many tasks) or psychomotor agitation (restlessness and pacing)
Additionally, applicants must also demonstrate an “extreme limitation” (almost complete inability) in one, or “marked limitation” (seriously limiting) in two of the following areas of mental functioning from the SSA’s Bipolar Disorder Listing:
- Understand, remember or apply information (tasks, instructions, or new information)
- Interact with others (using socially appropriate behavior and reading social cues)
- Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace (competent task completion abilities)
- Adapt or manage oneself (control one’s own behavior and actions)
In the absence of an ability to demonstrate the aforementioned “extreme” or “marked” functional limitations, applicants may still qualify for disability benefits by providing medical documentation of:
- The existence of a “serious and persistent” disorder over the course of at least two years
- A history of medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support, or a highly structured ongoing setting that diminishes the symptoms and signs of the mental disorder
- An inability to adapt to environmental changes and demands outside of the applicant’s daily life
- An inability to perform basic work actions, leading to consistent periods of decompensation
Questions About Disability Benefits and Bipolar Disorder?
The highly qualified, experienced and dedicated team of Social Security Disability Attorneys at Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo is here to answer all of your questions regarding bipolar disorder, disability benefits, and the application and appeal process.
To schedule a free consultation, contact us today via email or call us at (844) 243-4849 or toll-free at 877-794-2396.