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Bi-polar disorder and SSDI benefits

| Jul 9, 2021 | Firm News

Most residents of Indiana are aware that the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides financial assistance for people who are no longer able to work, but these same people often have a question about which physical and medical conditions are eligible for these benefits. One of the most misunderstood disabilities is mental illness. The SSA provides Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for persons suffering from a variety of mental disorders, but the list is complex and not all mental disorders are covered. This post will provide a summary of the conditions that permit benefits for bipolar disorder.

The basics of coverage for mental disorders

In order to qualify for disability benefits, an applicant must first provide evidence from a reputable mental health care provider that the applicant suffers from bi-polar disease. The applicant must also provide credible evidence that, because of the mental disorder, he or she is unable to work, that is, the applicant cannot undertake substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity is defined as the ability to earn more than $1,310 per month, or $2,190 if the applicant is blind.

Specific criteria for bi-polar disorder

Bipolar disorder is defined by one of two conditions:

  • Depressive disorder characterized by five or more of the enumerated symptoms that may include a depressed mood, diminished interest in almost all activities, sleep disturbance, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, or thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Bipolar disorder characterized by three or more of the enumerated symptoms, including pressured speech, flight of ideas, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, distractibility, or involvement in activities that have a high probability of painful consequences that are not recognized by the patient.

In addition to the listed symptoms, the patient must demonstrate that he or she has a medically documented history of suffering from the disorder or a period of two years. The applicant must also demonstrate both a history of treatment and a lack of improvement in the disorder.

Obtaining SSDI benefits for bi-polar disorder

Obtaining SSDI benefits for bipolar disorder can be difficult, and to succeed, an application must contain persuasive evidence of the symptoms enumerated in the regulations. The assistance of an attorney with extensive experience in the procedural aspects of obtaining SSDI benefits can also be an essential aid in pursuing a successful application.