Significant difficulty in functioning or performing daily work, remembering things, managing yourself or undertaking new challenges due to chronic depression or bipolar disorder may greatly reduce your ability to earn for yourself or perform work under residual functional capacity, RFC.
The SSA is aware of the challenges you or a loved one may face as a chronic bipolar patient. Regardless of the common misconceptions about not getting disability benefits for disorders like depression, the SSA actually grants you benefits provided that your disability is 'serious and limits your current intellectual and adaptive functioning'.
The first few limitations the SSA will consider to approve or disapprove your case would depend on the significance of the difficulty in your adaptive functioning according to the following limitations.
Extreme difficulty in one or marked difficulty in two of the following:
- Understanding, remembering or applying information
- Interacting with others
- Concentration, persistance or maintaining average pace
- Adapting to new changes or managing oneself in new circumstances
Along with the criteria for the limitation, the SSA will also require the medical documentation regarding any of the five among:
- - Sleep disturbance, insomnia or excessive sleep
- - Agitation
- - Inability to stay focused, distracting easily
- - Inflated self esteem
- - Flight of ideas, inability to think clearly
- - Increase in motor agitation and goal directed activity
Now that we have listed the limitation criteria and medical documentation, let us discuss how the medical notes of your doctor might help your disability approval for bipolar disorder.
Medical Notes on Bipolar Disorder
You will need to show evidence of the severity of your case by showing the ALJ or your disability examiner, proof of 'lessened adaptive functioning due to the severity of your bipolar disorder'. We suggest you should continue seeing your doctor even if your symptoms seem to have improved and keep a record of your good and bad days for at least one to two years of your bipolar disorder.
If you are unable to afford or see a doctor regularly, you might also apply for Medicare benefits until your SSDI case is decided. Alternatively, you may also consult a disability doctor assigned by the SSA for your consultative medical examination.
Getting treatment for Bipolar: Good or Bad?
Contrary to what most might think, taking your prescriptions for managing bipolar regularly, as prescribed by your doctor, may actually benefit your disability case. Not following a treatment or not being prescribed a treatment in the first place, the SSA may look at your bipolar disorder as mild or not severe enough. However, be sure to not cheat the SSA on presenting false records of prescriptions as this might permanently disable your chances of getting SSDI insurance from the SSA.
For more information you might consult any of our disability advocates in California for personalized guidance on your bipolar disorder and SSDI benefits.