Is Bipolar A Disability?

Bipolar Disorder - Condition

Bipolar Disorder is a mental health condition characterized by cyclic mania, or periods of extreme euphoria followed by bouts of severe depression. Bipolar disorder is not a mood disorder alone, but a category of several mood disorders. It is a condition that is prevalent in both men and women. 

What Are The Chances of Getting Disability For Bipolar Disorder?  

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), applicants trying to get disability for bipolar have approximately a ⅔ chance of getting approved for disability benefits. In other words, the chances of getting disability for bipolar is 2 out of every 3 bipolar disability applicants. 

Is Bipolar a Disability?

Bipolar disorder is considered a disability by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the SSA both consider bipolar disorder as being a disability. To start the process of getting disability for bipolar disorder, consult with your doctor to make sure you have enough medical evidence to prove your claim.

Bipolar disorder is a disability that can affect someone's ability to work full time and to function in their daily life. For the SSA to consider bipolar disorder to be a disability, you will need to work with your doctor in order to meet both the medical and work requirements.

In order to meet the work requirements to qualify for disability with bipolar disorder, you will have to have earned enough work credits while working.

Work credits are calculated by your age and how long you have worked. Generally, you need 40 credits to get disability benefits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled.

Once you meet the work requirements, you will also need meet the medical requirements outlined by the SSA for bipolar disorder to be considered a disability. To qualify for SSA with bipolar disorder, your diagnosis and medical evidence to back it up needs to match the SSA’s Blue Book listing for bipolar disorder.

The SSA does consider bipolar a disability, so if you can match the SSA’s listing, as well as meet the work requirements, the SSA will consider you disabled and you can earn SSDI benefits with your bipolar disorder diagnosis. 

Does Bipolar Qualify for Disability 

Yes, bipolar disorder does qualify for disability. This is because bipolar is seen as a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, thereby, is considered to be a disabling condition that qualifies for disability benefits. 

Bipolar disorder is included in the SSA’s listing of impairments which means that if a person's bipolar disorder has been diagnosed by a doctor and it has been determined as being severe enough to prevent the individual from being able to work for at least a year, they would be eligible for and able to receive bipolar disability benefits. 

Can You Get Disability for Bipolar?

Bipolar does qualify for disability and you are able to get disability for bipolar disorder if you meet the medical and work requirements outlined by the SSA. 

If you are looking to apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), you need to meet the list the criteria outlined by the SSA for bipolar disorder located in the SSA’s Blue Book. Use our SSDI calculator to see how much you could earn for disability for bipolar.

Bipolar disorder listing is in section 12.04. You also need to have enough work credits as SSDI is workers who can’t work full time anymore because of a disability like bipolar disorder.

If you meet the medical and work criteria, you will be able to get bipolar disability in the form of SSDI benefits. You can get bipolar disability in the form of SSI benefits if you meet the medical criteria outlined by the SSA.

In order to get SSI benefits for bipolar disorder, you need to meet the financial requirements outlined by the SSA. Since SSI is a needs-based program, you need to have very little income and resources.

Information on the financial limitations for SSI is located on the SSA’s website. If you meet both the medical and financial requirements outlined by the SSA, you get disability for bipolar in the form of SSI benefits in the form of SSI benefits.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Signs of the depressive phase of this mental illness include:

  • persistent feelings of hopelessness
  • anxiety
  • anger
  • guilt
  • sadness
  • isolation
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • lack of motivation
  • chronic pain
  • morbid suicidal ideation
  • self-loathing
  • depersonalization.

To speak with a local disability attorney about your Bipolar Disorder case, fill out a free disability review today.


In severe cases, individuals suffering from this disorder can even become psychotic. Bipolar Disorder symptoms typically manifest sometime between childhood and late adolescence.

Ordinarily, a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis is based on an individual’s self-reported experiences, along with behavioral abnormalities reported by friends, family members and colleagues. These indications are often corroborated by secondary symptoms observed by a social worker, psychiatrist, nurse or other clinicians involved in a clinical assessment.

Assessment of Bipolar Disorder is usually performed on an outpatient basis. A preliminary assessment may consist of a physical examination by a doctor. Generally, examinations are not repeated for relapse cases unless there is indication of a specific medical need.

Filing for Social Security Disability with a Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

If an individual’s Bipolar Disorder is constant and impairs all ability to function in a work environment, that person may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Any individual with Bipolar Disorder can be eligible for disability benefits if they meets the evaluation criteria listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, and if they has received a medical vocational disability endorsement based on the person's residual functional ability, education and age.

Impairments that Qualify for Bipolar Disorder Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration has established that a claimant with Bipolar Disorder must have a history of consistent symptomatic manic episodes, depressive syndromes, or a combination of both. Additionally, the claimant’s bipolar disorder should result in two (2) of the following restrictions:

  • severe limitation of daily activity,
  • inability to interact with others in a normal way, or
  • recurring episodes of decompensation, which last for an extended period of time.

If a claimant does not meet the aforementioned criteria with bipolar disorder, they may still qualify under a section in the Blue Book, which states that any individual with a medical history documenting at least two years of any chronic affective disorder, including Bipolar Disorder, can be granted disability benefits, despite the support of medication, if the impairment or ailment has resulted in:

  • limitations of the capacity to perform basic work action, even when symptoms are controlled with psychosocial support and medication.
  • the claimant’s condition must lead to persistent decompensation periods, or
  • the residual illness process has caused a subsidiary adjustment that even a nominal boost in mental demands would cause the claimant to decompensate.

Furthermore, a claimant with bipolar disorder must have been incapable of functioning outside a supportive livelihood for any foreseeable time period. If an individual meets or exceeds these qualifications, there is a good chance of eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If a claimant still does not meet the aforementioned criteria with bipolar disorder, they may still apply for bipolar disability based on his remaining functional capacity, education and age. If mental residual functioning is very limited and one is not capable of meeting the demands of basic routine repetitive activities, it is still possible to qualify for a medical vocational disability allowance.

Because applying for disability benefits with a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis can be a complex and intimidating process, hiring a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer or disability advocate may be in a potential claimant’s best interest. In fact, working with a disability attorney or advocate is possibly one of the most important signs your disability claim will be approved

How Much Money Do You Get For Bipolar Disability? 

If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may be awarded disability benefits. If your condition and symptoms are severe that you can’t work at all, you can quality for disability benefits. Currently the maximum benefit payment amount that someone with bipolar disorder can be awarded in 2023 is $3,627 per month. But it can be difficult to get awarded the maximum benefit. The average Social Security disability benefit is usually around $1,500. That’s because there are other factors that determine the amount of benefit you are awarded.  

Some of the factors that can influence the amount of the benefit that you receive include: 

Family Contribution 

If you are receiving money from family members or you live with a family member and don’t have to pay rent, you may receive a lower benefit amount because of the help that you get from your family. If you don’t have a family or if your family doesn’t contribute anything to your expenses or provide you with a place to live, then you may be eligible for a higher benefit. 

Other Income 

If you have a trust fund, an annuity, investment accounts, rental property, or other income that can offset your expenses that income will be considered when your benefit amount is calculated. You must disclose any other income or assets that you have when you submit your application for disability benefits. 

Work Credits 

In order to receive disability benefits you must have a certain amount of work credits. Work credits are earned based on your salary when you were able to work. You can earn up to 4 work credits per year. 

How Much Does Mental Health Disability Benefits Pay?

Someone who is diagnosed with a mental health illness disability and is unable to work may qualify for disability benefits. In 2023 the maximum amount paid was $3,627 a month. This could include suffering from severe depression, bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, or another mental illness that prevents the victim from going to work to earn a living,

Normally, a person will only qualify for social security disability benefits (SSDI) if he or she has paid social security taxes and has gained a total of 40 credits with 20 of those being earned in the last decade before the mental health disability started.

The maximum number of credits a person may accumulate in a 12 month period is four, one for every three months. Exceptions are sometimes made for younger people. As well as having the required number of work credits, applicants for SSDI must not be earning more than $1,470 per month and the mental health condition is likely to prevent the person from working for at least 12 months.

When the calculation for SSDI is made for an applicant the SSDI calculator assumes you became disabled in 2023 and the Social Security Disability benefits are based on your earnings from your job. SSDI benefits are calculated by using the sum of:

  • 90% of the first $1,115 of your average indexed monthly earnings; plus
  • 32% of your average indexed monthly earnings over $1,115 and through $6,721; plus
  • 15% of your average indexed monthly earnings over $6,721.

Your Bipolar Disorder Disability Case

Because Bipolar Disorder is listed in the impairment listing manual of the Social Security Administration, a person with Bipolar Disorder who wishes to file for bipolar disability benefits can win by satisfying specific criteria. If you are planning to apply for SSDI/SSI disability benefits, you should bear in mind that all Social Disability claims with bipolar disorder will be granted or denied benefits based on medical records.

You should strive to keep a consistent treatment regimen for your bipolar disorder before and during the Social Security Disability application process, and if your SSDI/SSI application is denied, you should be prepared to file a bipolar disability appeal. In many cases, a Social Security Disability lawyer or advocate can provide invaluable help by guiding you through the application and appeals processes.

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