Bipolar Disorder Disability

Social Security Disability Lawyers

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a number of conditions to be severe enough to prevent you from working. Regardless of the condition, all impairments are subject to evaluation and you must meet certain criteria to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Watch our Is Mental Illness a Disability? video.

Though most of the conditions listed by the SSA as disabling are permanent or expected to result in death, those that are not require evidence showing that the condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year. Our dedicated Social Security Disability lawyers are here to help and support you during this time.

Your Condition

Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic depression, is an affective disorder that produces both depressive (low) feelings and manic (elated) mood swings. Changes in a person’s mood range from several times a day to a few times a year.

There are three types of bipolar disorder, including: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymia.

  • Bipolar I – significant mood swings, resulting in severe and/or dangerous episodes
  • Bipolar II – less severe mania, still leading to irritability and/or changes in functioning
  • Cyclothymia – the mildest form of bipolar disorder with less disruptive highs and lows

SSA Evaluation

Affective disorders are considered mental disorders by the SSA and are evaluated by severity levels. To qualify for either SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the following requirements must be met:

  • persistent conditions of depression (at least four medically documented): loss of interest; change in appetite; sleep disturbance; psychomotor agitation (unintentional motions caused by anxiety, i.e. pacing); decreased energy; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; difficulty thinking; thoughts of suicide; hallucinations or paranoid thinking
  • persistent conditions of manic behavior (at least three medically documented): hyperactivity; pressure of speech; flight ideas; inflated self esteem; decreased need for sleep; easy distractibility; involvement in high-risk activities for pain; hallucinations or paranoid thinking
  • bipolar disorder with both manic and depressive syndromes
  • inability to maintain (at least two of the following): daily activities without restriction; social functioning; concentration or pace; a period of time without episodes
  • medically documented history of two years of chronic affective disorder limiting the ability to perform basic daily activities as a result of (one of the following): repeated episodes; a lasting disease process that doesn’t allow for even minimal mental or environmental changes; a one-year history of not being able to function outside of a highly supportive living arrangement

Have Questions?

Free Online Consultation

Together, our lawyers have more than 150 years of experience and, with a staff of more than 140 attorneys and case managers who handle more than 8,000 disability cases each year, we can help determine if you qualify for benefits. Our SSI attorneys treat you like family and handle your case with integrity. We know how to apply, how to appeal, and how to help. Call us today at (866)-684-7216 or fill out a free online consultation form.

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How Can a Lawyer Help?

Having the help of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer on your side may increase your chances of being approved for benefits. We can help you:


  • file your claim
  • process complicated paperwork
  • handle your appeal
  • and more
Learn why you need an Attorney over an Advocate »

About FSTN

Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin has a reputation for success and handles Social Security Disability (SSD) cases across the country, partnering with many law firms. By partnering with premier injury law firms throughout the country, our Social Security Disability lawyers easily serve the needs of clients no matter where they live.

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