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Bipolar Disorder Disability – How To Prove Your Claim To Receive Disability Benefits

Last updated: May 8, 2023

Millions of people have bipolar disorder, making daily activities, such as earning a living difficult. An individual with bipolar disorder can go from being depressed to feeling euphoric in seconds. Medical treatment can only go so far in addressing this "up-and-down" condition.

Bipolar disorder is an example of a mental impairment that is frequently denied disability benefits. Whether they are filed under an insurance policy through the Veterans Administration or the Social Security disability programs, initial applications tend to be denied.

A claim for bipolar-related disability, no matter how medically validated and valid, may initially be denied. You should, therefore, seek the advice of an experienced and skillful disability attorney as soon as possible to increase your chances of getting disability for bipolar disorder.

What Is Bipolar Disorder Disability?

Bipolar Disorder is also called “manic depression,” leading to excessive mood swings. During mania, a person goes back and forth between depressive and euphoric states. These cycles may take place over a long time or can occur concurrently.

When experiencing mania, they may be euphoric, rage-filled, sleepless, and possess rushed thoughts and speech. A person suffering from a severe manic episode may experience hallucinations or become delusional. A person suffering from depression believes they are hopeless, anxious, sleep-deprived, and suffering from suicidal thoughts. An overall inability to function normally results from these unusual shifts in energy levels.

Disability can result from bipolar disorder for several reasons, including:

  • Imbalance in brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Genetics
  • Traumatic experiences or extreme stress

In addition to bipolar disorder and depression, illnesses and injuries can also cause these conditions.

Can You Get Social Security Disability for Bipolar Disorder?

It is listed as a mental disorder within Mental Disorders, Listing 12.04 - Affective Disorders under the Social Security Manual of Impairments. Bipolar disorder, in this case, is a severe enough affective disorder to qualify for disability benefits.

According to the listing, bipolar disorder is characterized as:

“a disturbance of mood, accompanied by a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome. Mood refers to a prolonged emotion that colors the whole psychic life; it generally involves either depression or elation.”

If you seek Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must be unable to work for twelve consecutive months.

Medical records play a key role in determining whether Social Security Disability benefits are approved or denied. To demonstrate your inability to work, you will need to provide evidence of symptoms and psychological abnormalities. You may also need these documents to prove your claim, in addition to medical records:

  • You should keep a record of letters or other records from your doctor or therapist explaining how your bipolar condition persists despite treatments and other managing efforts.
  • Descriptions of how your condition impacts your day-to-day life from friends and family members
  • Describe how your condition has affected your job performance in letters from current and former employers

You can best protect yourself by getting proper medical treatment and following your doctor's recommendations. The more evidence you provide supporting your disability claim, the stronger your case will be.

Even if your initial SSDI application is denied, don’t lose hope. Your chances of getting disability for bipolar disorder are still good.

Veterans With Bipolar Disorder Disability

Disability compensation is available to veterans with disabilities caused by disabling mental disorders registered in the military or aggravated during service. The VA recognizes bipolar disorder as a disability. Under Mental Disorders, and specifically under Mood Disorders, it is listed in their Schedule for Rating Disabilities.

VA disability ratings are based on the impact that disabilities have on your ability to earn a living and work. The VA schedule does not cover mental illness, no matter how crippling the condition may be. A wrong diagnosis may result in lower chances of getting disability for bipolar disorder.

­Denied Bipolar Disorder Disability Claims For LTD Insurance

Many disability insurance policies refer to mental impairments such as bipolar disorder as a mental nervous condition. Compensation is usually only granted for 24 months when such conditions are considered. Bipolar disorder may not be a biologically based illness, which may not be accurate. As a result, there is a criticism that the policy language assigns the disorder an unacceptable label.

Insurance companies will use other tactics to justify their denial of your disability benefits. The following tactics are common:

  • Claims of misdiagnosis
  • Lack of medical evidence
  • Pre-existing condition clauses in the policy language

Depending on the type of long-term disability policy you are fighting, your chances of overturning denied claims for bipolar disorder disability vary greatly.

Work With A Disability Claim Attorney

Insurance companies often use mental disorders as an excuse to deny claims made by veterans. Veteran claim attorneys understand how these excuses are used. Holding your insurance company accountable will enable you to recover what you are entitled to.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder disability can create a false impression of the person suffering from the condition. When someone feels euphoric and energized, they may appear effective at work. Your benefits may be affected by intermittent work history.

Veterans' claim attorneys know why the VA denies and delays claims, and they can help those with mental illness get the benefits they deserve. Their role is to work with your doctors, family members, and other third parties to prove your eligibility for disability benefits related to bipolar disorder. Your physician and other healthcare providers can also receive appropriate counseling and information concerning your condition to provide an accurate diagnosis per VA disability requirements.

Based on your level of bipolar disorder, your attorneys know what rating to assign. They gather documentation to prove the degree of severity, which will promptly be presented to the VA.

Wanna know what to do when you don't have enough work credits for disability benefits? Check out our link to learn more.

Applying for Social Security benefits can be an overwhelming process. If you are interested in seeking SSDI benefits, check out our article on how to check the status of a pending Social Security disability claim. To learn more, visit DisabilityHelp.org today!

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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