StethoscopeBipolar disorder (also known as manic depression, manic depressive disorder, or bipolar affective disorder) is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as qualifying conditions for receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, the SSA evaluates each case individually to determine whether or not the effects of the disorder would preclude you from doing any kind of work for a period of at least twelve months.

In the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security manual (also known as the Blue Book), The Social Security Administration classifies bipolar and other affective disorders as Mental Disorders that are characterized by a disturbance of mood, accompanied by a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome. When evaluating individual cases, the SSA looks for medically documented findings of at least one of the following:

  • Depressive syndrome characterized by at least four of the following: Anhedonia or pervasive loss of interest in almost all activities; appetite disturbance with change in weight; sleep disturbance; psychomotor agitation or retardation; decreased energy; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; difficulty concentrating or thinking; thoughts of suicide; hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking.
  • Manic syndrome characterized by at least three of the following: hyperactivity; pressure of speech; flight of ideas; inflated self-esteem; decreased need for sleep; easy distractibility; involvement in activities that have a high probability of painful consequences that are not recognized; hallucinations, delusions or paranoid thinking.
  • Bipolar syndrome with a history of episodic periods manifested by the full symptomatic picture of both manic and depressive syndromes (and currently characterized by either or both syndromes).

These medically documented findings must result in at least two of the following:

  • Marked restriction of activities of daily living.
  • Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning.
  • Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.
  • Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.

Or, a medically documented history of a chronic affective disorder of at least two years’ duration that has caused more than a minimal limitation of ability to do basic work activities, with symptoms or signs currently attenuated by medication or psychosocial support, and one of the following:

  • Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.
  • A residual disease process that has resulted in such marginal adjustment that even a minimal increase in mental demands or change in the environment would be predicted to cause the individual to decompensate.
  • Current history of one or more years’ inability to function outside a highly supportive living arrangement, with an indication of the continued need for such an arrangement.

At the Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd., we are experienced in handling social security disability claims related to bipolar disorder, manic depression, manic depressive disorder, bipolar affective disorder, and other affective disorders. We have experience in mental illness cases including but not limited to anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and more. We understand what the SSA is looking for when evaluating claims, and are here to be your tough advocates regardless of the level of your appeal.

We also realize that this is a difficult time, and are here to answer your questions. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.