Disability for Bipolar Disorder

  • Home
  • /
  • Disability for Bipolar Disorder

Is Bipolar A Disability?


Yes, both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Social Security Administration (SSA) consider bipolar disorder a disability. This gives additional protection and aid to individuals with bipolar.

To begin the disability claim process, you need to consult a healthcare professional. You also must provide all necessary documents to the SSA to prove your disabling condition. The documents can act as proof of your deteriorating health condition that prevents you from doing any work.

Bipolar is a multidimensional condition that involves a complex interaction between psychological and biological factors. Bipolar disability is a sizable contributor to disability across the globe.  

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be subtle or extreme. There are currently 2.3 million Americans with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder today. Many more have the condition, but lack a proper diagnosis that can enable them to get the help they need. 

People of nearly any age can have bipolar disorder, but the onset is usually during adolescence. The mean age of onset is 18 years old. Many people with bipolar disorder apply for disability, but a large percentage of them get denied. Often, they are denied because they apply without gathering enough information about the eligibility criteria for SSD.

What do symptoms of bipolar disorder look like? 

Patients with bipolar might apply for bipolar disability benefits because they have trouble dealing with ordinary life events. Their ability to perform their job, maintain positive interpersonal relationships, or keep up with academic requirements can become affected. One of the most challenging tasks for these patients is maintaining a healthy social life. 

There are many different treatments for bipolar, and the disability can often be offset through medications and talk therapy. But if the condition doesn’t improve with treatment and this precludes someone from living a healthy life, then bipolar can be disabling. 

There is no cure for bipolar disorder. Common symptoms of the condition include:
Disability For Bipolar Disorder

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate
  • Thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Restlessness 
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Extreme talkativeness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Poor decision-making
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression

Formerly known as manic depression in the medical community, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition in which the most prominent symptom is mood swings. These mood swings are vastly different from typical mood changes. The changes can vary significantly from states of mania to depressive states. An individual with bipolar disorder can go from one extreme to another in a short time.

Forms of Bipolar Disorder

All types of bipolar disorder involve mania and depression to a degree. As it is a lifelong illness, one should consult an expert from an early stage.  

Following are the different forms of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I disorder: The patient experiences severe mood swings/episodes. These can present as mania or depression.
  • Bipolar II disorder: In this case, the individual experiences hypomania and major depressive episodes. Hypomania is a milder form of mania.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: The individual experiences short episodes of hypomanic and depressive symptoms. These episodes do not last as long as full depressive and hypomanic episodes.
  • Mixed symptoms: Many people face mixed symptoms, including depressive episodes and manic or hypomanic episodes that occur simultaneously. Patients in this situation might feel irritable, despairing, and suicide-prone. Symptoms include sleeplessness, high energy, and racing thoughts.
  • Rapid cycling: If a person experiences four or more mood episodes within one month, the condition is “rapid cycling.”

Many people that file bipolar disability claims have several disabling symptoms and take medication for the condition. 

Can you get disability for bipolar disorder?

Yes, it is possible to receive disability benefits for bipolar disorder from the SSA, but one needs to meet a certain number of criteria to do so. If an individual’s condition is continuous and impairs their standard functioning abilities, they will be taken into consideration for SSDI or SSI for bipolar. Most notably, the impairments must affect performance in the workplace.

An individual can qualify for disability if the Blue Book conditions match the symptoms. One may also be able to attain a medical-vocational disability endorsement on the basis of the individual’s residual ability, which is based on function, age, and education.

Following is an overview of specific impairments that can increase the likelihood of an individual getting social security disability for bipolar disorder:

  • Lack of ability to communicate in a healthy way
  • Extreme limitation of normal daily activities
  • Repetitive episodes that are long-lasting

There are specific impairments in the Social Security Administration Blue Book. The Social Security Administration requires that claimants with bipolar disorder exhibit both depressive and manic episodes for extended periods to be considered for disability.

How to apply for disability for bipolar disorder

The bipolar disorder listing is in the impairment manual of the Social Security Administration Blue Book. An individual who wishes to file for bipolar disorder disability benefits should keep in mind that all disability claims are granted or denied based on medical records.

Other aspects can also affect the decision; however, medical records will carry a lot of weight in the determination of each case. A history of consistent treatment is vital for success in filing your application. In the situation where your request has been denied, you must adequately prepare to file an appeal. To do this:

  • You can apply for SSD/SSI online
  • You can call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number and make an appointment: 1-800-772-1213 
  • Individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired can call the toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778. 
  • SSA offices are generally open from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm.

The officials at the Social Security office near you will help in processing your application. You can also access the starter kits for children under 18 years of age and adults. These kits can provide information about disability-related concerns.

Get in touch to file a bipolar disorder claim

Find an experienced disability attorney to help you apply for social security for bipolar. They can help you throughout the application or appeals process. Schedule a free case consultation to ensure your disability application is accurate and complete.


Free Consultation