If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and are considering applying for Social Security Disability, you need to be aware of how the Social Security Administration evaluates bipolar disorder.
Bipolar Disorder (a.k.a Manic Depressive illness) can result in periods of mania followed by periods of dark depression. During mania you may feel great; spend money you don’t have and make careless decisions. Clients usually describe mania fondly. But when you cycle into depression, it’s difficult for you to get out of the bed and even the motivation to bathe is tough to muster. This change can happen unexpectedly.
Treatment (medications and therapy) can help with the symptoms of bipolar disorder. It may help elongate your cycles giving you periods of stability. But some people with bipolar disorder do not respond to medication. It may take you several tries of different medications to find one that helps.
The Social Security Administration evaluates bipolar disorder under Listing 12.04, Affective Disorder. There is actually a portion of the listing that refers specifically to bipolar disorder:
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);
In addition to the above you must have marked restriction in at least two of the following: activities of daily living; or maintaining social functioning; or maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.
If you are going to the doctor and taking your medications but still have problems in your daily life dealing with other people or being able to focus from your Bipolar Disorder, you should file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible.