Social Security Disability Claims for Bipolar Disorder

Written by John Horn. Posted in Blogs, Mental Illness

Social Security Disability benefits are available for those who cannot work because of physical or mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder. Though some individuals can control their bipolar disorder with the appropriate combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies, others are unable to get their disorder under control.

This leaves them unable to interact with other individuals or take care of themselves in a way that permits them to hold down a stable job.

If you cannot work due to your bipolar disorder, apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Here are a few important things you need to know about making a Social Security Disability claim for your bipolar disorder.

  1. Allow Time for the Process

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder is not enough to procure approval for Social Security Disability payments. Bipolar disorder has multiple levels of severity, some of which include symptoms of psychosis and extreme mood swings. You need to prove that your bipolar disorder is so severe that it renders you unable to work. This process takes time.

Be prepared to visit multiple doctors who can diagnose and attest to the severity of your bipolar disorder. The doctors should come to a general consensus that your mental illness renders you unable to function in a way that permits steady employment.

Some individuals with bipolar disorder are unable to function on their own but do have moderate success in completing the activities of daily life while living in a group home. You can still receive Social Security Disability benefits if this fits your situation.

Again, you need to show that other lifestyle changes and medications were ineffective at controlling your bipolar symptoms and that you cannot function outside of the highly controlled environment of your group home.

  1. Don’t Forgo Seeing Your Doctor Due to Financial Concerns

If you cannot work and are not currently receiving Social Security Disability payments, your budget is likely tight. You may start searching for expenditures that you can cut or reduce. However, make sure that you keep up with your doctor visits and continue to take any prescribed medication. Strong medical evidence of a disability is one of the most effective ways to secure Social Security Disability benefits.

One of the requirements for receiving Social Security Disability payments is that you have to be able to prove that approved treatments (such as medication or therapy) are unable to control or reduce your bipolar disorder to a level that permits you to hold a steady job.

By visiting your doctor regularly, you have objective proof that you have tried multiple treatment options. Your doctor will include documentation in your medical records as to what medications are unsuccessful and which ones you have tried. Your regular doctor visits also add an additional level of proof concerning the severity of your bipolar disorder.

  1. Make Your Claim or Appeal as Strong as Possible

Individuals who apply for Social Security Disability benefits often initially have their claims denied. At this point, you have the option to drop your claim or appeal the decision.

One way you can increase the chance of winning your appeal is to make your claim as strong as you can. Hiring an experienced attorney who specializes in dealing with Social Security Disability cases is an excellent way to strengthen your case.

Your attorney knows what it takes to win a case and can advise you of any elements that your case is missing. For example, you may need a strong written statement from your doctor that your bipolar disorder is unlikely to improve, even with treatment, over the next few years.

Dismiss any financial concerns you have about paying an attorney. An attorney is a worthwhile investment, and you do not have to pay unless your attorney wins your case for you.

Are you ready to build an effective appeal for your Social Security Disability case? Contact Horn & Kelley P.C. Attorneys At Law for your free consultation.


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With locations in Tinley Park, IL; La Grange, IL; Chicago, IL; & Highland, IN, getting started on your Social Security Disability claim has never been easier.

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