Bipolar Disorder and Disability
Bipolar Disorder which is also called as Manic Depression is a psychiatric disorder which is a combination of depression along with mania. Mania is a mood disorder in which an individual gets hyperactive, has rapid thoughts, and at times has poor judgment. These two different conditions occur in cycles like a person may be hyperactive at one time and soon thereafter may get depressed and do nothing at all. These episodes may sometimes last for even months.
Claimant may get disability benefit if he or she has Bipolar Disorder of a severe nature such that even with appropriate treatment and medications the individual meets the specifications listed in the guidelines laid out by the SSA for qualifying for disability benefits for mood disorders. It is important to prove the extent of functional limitations caused due to Bipolar Disorder. The claimant should not be in a position to hold a position at work at a consistent level. The claimant is unable to handle any form of stressful situations and avoids public gatherings and the like. The most important point to mention here is that the claimant's condition should not have been caused due to chronic alcoholism or drug abuse.
What Does SSA Look for in Cases Related to SSD/SSI Benefits Due to Bipolar Disorder?
Now coming to the question of whether a person can get SSI/SSD benefits due to Bipolar Disorder, the claimant should have a confirmed diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder which should have lasted or is expected to last for a period of 12 months if not more and despite adequate treatments through an experienced mental health professional is not in a state of mind to hold a position in job for a consistent period of time.
The SSA will look for medical records detailing the duration of the condition, the severity of the condition, the treatments rendered and the extent of functional limitations caused due to bipolar disorder in order to qualify for disability benefits. The claimant should be experiencing frequent symptoms of hyperactivity, pressured speech, having tangential thinking, having flight of ideas, extremely exaggerated self esteem, chronic insomnia, getting distracted easily, hallucinations, paranoia, severe depression. Additionally, the claimant should be having any four of the following symptoms: Low energy levels, concentration difficulties, problems with performing and completing tasks, lack of interest in doing activities, problems with completing day to day activities, unintentional weight loss or weight gain, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
The SSA will also look at documented evidence stating the claimant has the problems with at least two of the following repetitive episodes of decompensation, inability to go in a social environment, difficulty performing tasks in a timely fashion, inability to perform activities of daily living. A claimant can be granted disability benefits due to Bipolar Disorder if the claimant has been having the above mentioned symptoms despite appropriate treatment.
What are the Chances of Getting Social Security Disability Benefits Due to Bipolar Disorder?
As stated above, to qualify for SSA/SSD benefits for Bipolar Disorder, the claimant needs to prove how the condition is impacting his or her ability to be gainfully employed under any category. The next thing that the SSA will consider while hearing the claim will be to see if the claimant can undergo vocational rehabilitation where the claimant undergoes training in a vocation where he or she does have to work under stressful situations or a vocation where the claimant does not have to concentrate hard for a prolonged period of time. The SSA calls this as Residual Functional Capacity or RFC. Once the claimant's RFC level is determined, then the SSA will look to see what kind of work fits the claimant best. If the SSA is convinced that the claimant is not in a position to perform any sort of tasks whether it be skilled or unskilled then the claimant can be granted disability benefits due to Bipolar Disorder but in order to convince the SSA, the claimant will have to produce documented evidence in the form of medical records detailing the entire treatment history of the claimant with special mention to any violent or manic episodes in the past. Additionally, the medical record should mention the treatments that have been rendered to the claimant in the form of mood stabilizing medications or therapy, whether the claimant has been compliant with the treatments rendered, and what has been the response of the patient with the treatments given. The medical records should also mention the list of medications taken by the claimant and whether there are any side effects of the medications which may preclude the claimant from working in any job. Under any circumstance if there is any mention of a suspicion of alcohol or drug use in the medical records then it may affect the outcome of the claim negatively.
Why is it Important to Hire an SSD Attorney for Winning Disability Benefits for Bipolar Disorder?
Even if a claimant has enough documented evidence favoring his or her claim, if it is not presented in an appropriate way, the claimant may not be able to get the decision in his or her favor, more so in cases of Bipolar Disorder where documentation is of utmost importance. For this, the claimant needs to hire an experienced attorney who can prepare and present the claimant's case in the best possible way so that Disability Benefit is granted. A disability attorney or an SSD attorney would have significant knowledge as to what the judge might require of the claimant during the hearing and what are the other relevant information that needs to be furnished in front of the judge at the time of hearing to win a disability claim. It should be noted here that an SSD attorney gets paid only after the claimant has been granted disability benefit, thus the attorney does all he or she can to get the claimant disability benefits for bipolar disorder.
In summary, an individual with a confirmed diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder to such an extent that he or she is unable to be gainfully employed in any position should work in close relationship with his or her mental health professional and an experienced SSD attorney so as to win the Social Security Disability Benefits due to Bipolar Disorder.