Is bipolar depression a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that helps people with disabilities gain equal rights at work. Bipolar disorder is considered a disability under the ADA, as is blindness or multiple sclerosis. You can also qualify for Social Security benefits if you can't work. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be extreme enough to prevent a person from working.

If this is your case, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that symptoms of mental disorders such as bipolar disorder can significantly interfere with your daily routine and prevent you from working. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from severe mania to depression. Health experts classify bipolar disorder as a serious mental illness, along with schizophrenia and major depressive disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a qualifying condition for disability, but that doesn't mean that everyone with bipolar disorder is automatically granted supplemental security income (SSI) or disability payments. To be diagnosed with Bipolar I, manic symptoms must last at least a week and occur most of the day every day or result in hospitalization. The daily lives of people with bipolar disorder can be exhausting because of the many challenges they face on a daily basis, including side effects from medications and frequent episodes of psychosis or delusions. Whether or not you qualify for bipolar disorder disability depends on your work history and current circumstances.

To qualify for SSA with bipolar disorder, your diagnosis and supporting medical tests must match the SSA Blue Book list for bipolar disorder. If bipolar disorder is significantly affecting the way you perform and the way you see yourself, applying for disability benefits can help you get the support you need to thrive. It is your responsibility to show SSA that you would be disabled because of your bipolar depressive disorder, regardless of your drug or alcohol use. If you have been diagnosed with drug or alcohol dependence, then you have a major obstacle to obtaining disability benefits for depression or bipolar disorder.

Hearing that you have bipolar disorder is a life-changing time and many people find it difficult to accept it. The Social Security Administration will automatically grant disability benefits for depression or bipolar disorder if it can show that you have the symptoms and limitations listed on your official disability list for depression or bipolar disorder. To determine if you can work a full-time job, Social Security must consider the extent to which your bipolar symptoms interfere with your ability to perform certain work activities, such as following instructions and remembering details. Bipolar disorder can make it difficult to work when you have manic episodes or depressive syndromes.

For example, if your husband has bipolar disorder, you are protected if he needs emergency hospitalization and must leave work without warning because of this.

LaToya Weitze
LaToya Weitze

Amateur internet scholar. Incurable internet evangelist. Extreme travel geek. Infuriatingly humble beer evangelist. Bacon evangelist.

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