Article by: Ram Meyyappan
If you are suffering from severe Bipolar disorder, it can be difficult to maintain full-time employment. The mood swings and the effects from the medications that you may be taking can make it impossible to get out of bed on some days. The resulting lack of income can wreak financial havoc on a family. Fortunately, in some cases, Social Security Disability benefits are available to help.
The Social Security Blue Book
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will compare your condition to a list of conditions known as the Social Security Blue Book. This Blue Book contains a listing of all of the conditions that could possibly qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits along with the criteria that must be met along with each condition. Bipolar disorder is covered under Section 12.04 of the Blue Book, which covers affective disorders.
According to Section 12.04 of the Blue Book, you can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with bipolar disorder if you can prove that:
You suffer from a disturbance of mood, accompanied by a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome; and
- You have medically documented persistence, either continuous or intermittent, of 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); and
- You suffer marked restriction of activities of daily living; or
- You suffer marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or
- You suffer marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or
- You suffer from repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration; or
- You can furnish a medically documented history of a chronic affective disorder of at least 2 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.
For more information on applying for disability with bipolar disorder, please visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/bipolar-disorder-and-social-security-disability
Technical Eligibility Criteria
In addition to meeting the above-mentioned Blue Book criteria, you must also meet the SSA’s technical criteria for either the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Each program has its own technical requirements.
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have earned enough work credits through your past work history. If you are over age 31, you must have worked five of the past 10 years in order to qualify. If you are under age 31, you must have worked half the time since turning age 21 to have enough work credits. For example, if you are age 27, you must have worked three of the past six years to have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. If you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you may be able to qualify for SSI benefits.
SSI is a needs-based program for low-income individuals and families. In order to qualify your household income cannot exceed $710 per month as an individual or $1,060 per month as a couple. You must also not have more than $2,000 in household assets as an individual or $3,000 in household assets as a couple.
Completing the Application Process
You can apply for SSDI and SSI benefits online (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/disability.htm) or in person at your local Social Security office. When you apply, you will be asked to fill out a number of disability forms as well as attend an interview. You should submit all of your medical evidence during the application process. It will take approximately three to six months from the date of your application to receive a decision regarding your Social Security Disability claim.
Don’t be discouraged if your application is denied. Almost 2/3 of applications are initially denied. There is an extensive appeals process through which you can go through in order to obtain the benefits you need. You should however strongly consider hiring a disability attorney or advocate if your application is denied.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
Also, please do check out The Consumer’s Guide to Qualifying for Social Security Disability Programs . This website will help break down the requirements and analysis of your condition for SSI or SSD.