Social Security Disability Benefits for Depression or Bipolar Disorder

Mental health disorders, such as a bipolar disability and depression, can affect every phase of a person’s life. These effects include an inability to socialize, to concentrate, and to have relationships.

SSDI disability claims for bipolar disorder or depression may be justified if a worker is unable to work for more than a year due to the illness.

SSDI has a specific category of impairment called “Depressive, bipolar and related disorders”. Claimants who meet the definitions outlined in this category should be approved for their SSDI benefits. 

Claimants who fail to meet the SSDI definitions may still be eligible for social security disability for depression or bipolar disorder based on their residual functional ability, age, and education.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 35.2 % of the nine million people approved for SSDI were approved based on mental illness.

According to Mental Health America, more than 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Many of those with mental health disorders are unable to work due to depression, bipolar disorder, or other conditions.

Depressive And Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Social Security will approve applicants for mental health disorders if they meet certain tests.

The SSA generally characterizes mental health disorder symptoms as:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Elevated moods
  • Expansive moods
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • A loss of functioning
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Inability to sleep
  • Changes in weight and appetite
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sadness
  • Euphoria
  • Social withdrawal
  • Pressured speech

The SSDI Impairment Test for Depression

Applicants should submit medical documentation to support the following characteristics of depressive disorder. Medical documentation is usually provided by psychologists, psychiatrists, hospital’s diagnostic tests, medical histories, and therapists.

Experienced SSDI lawyers work with your doctor to verify that you meet the impairment definition for depression.

The documentation needs to support five, not all, of the following conditions:

  • Depressed mood
  • Diminished interest in almost all activities
  • Appetite disturbance with change in weight
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

The Bipolar Disability SSDI Impairment Test

Applicants for SSDI who claim they have bipolar disorder should be able to prove through medical documentation that they have three of the following conditions:

  • Pressured speech
  • Flight of ideas
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Distractibility
  • Engagement in high-risk activities that have a high likelihood of painful consequences that are not initially recognized
  • Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation

Additional SSDI Impairment Requirements for Depressive or Bipolar Disorder

Applicants who can show that they meet the five depression factors or the three bipolar disorder factors still need to show they meet one of the following two criteria.

The first is an extreme limitation of one of the following, or a marked limitation of two of the following:

  • The ability to understand, remember or apply information
  • The ability to interact with others
  • Being able to concentrate, persist, or maintain pace
  • The ability to adapt or manage oneself

The second is documentation that your claim for depressive of bipolar disorder is “serious and persistent.”

This means providing evidence that your disorder has lasted for at least two years and showing evidence of BOTH of the following:

  • “Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder
  • Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life.”

Applicants must also show they have a sufficient recent work history and that they have worked enough years to be considered eligible for Social Security Disability.

The Residual Function Test for Depressive Or Bipolar Disorder

Applicants who don’t have enough medical evidence to show they meet the impairment test can still qualify for SSDI depressions or bipolar disability payments if they can show an inability to work based on their age, their education, and the results of a residual functional capacity (RFC) test. The mental RFC test is used for disability for bipolar disorder or disability for depression claims for SSDI.

The Social Security Administration uses the RFC test to determine if your intellectual and social skills are:

  • Markedly limited
  • Moderately limited
  • Not significantly limited

The test will review your ability to understand and remember, interact with others, concentrate, and adapt. The RFC test evaluates the medical evidence that supports your claim. It also considers, in evaluation of your depression and bipolar disorder, nonmedical evidence; which includes statements from employers, coworkers, and others.

The Social Security Administration will then evaluate your RFC test with your age and education to determine your eligibility.

The Benefits of SSDI Approval for Depressive or Bipolar Disorders

Approval for SSDI includes more than just financial benefits; there are health benefits as well.

The cost of therapy, medications, and other health needs can be overwhelming. SSDI approval entitles the person approved to a Medicare card two years after approval. This means applicants should consult with a skilled SSDI lawyer as soon as possible so they can start their claim promptly.

Contact Us To See If You Can Obtain SSDI For Your Depression Or Bipolar Disorder

The SSDI lawyers at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo understand how difficult it can be to live with a depressive or bipolar disorder.

Our highly experienced Social Security Disability lawyers work with your doctor to obtain the necessary information for your case. We fight to get your claim for benefits approved so you can get the financial and medical help you need.

To make an appointment, call us now at (844) 243-4836. Consultations are free.

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