How to Seek Disability Benefits for Bipolar Disorder?

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If you suffer from bipolar disorder, the severity of your symptoms may range from mild to severe. When it comes to the social security disability benefits available through Social Security Administration (SSA), any disorder or disability must meet a basic requirement. It must be serious enough to prevent you from taking up a meaningful job and earning a minimum amount of wages. If the condition is not that serious, you may not get the disability benefits.

The same principle applies if you suffer from bipolar disorder. If the condition is mild and you can manage it while going about the daily tasks, your condition will likely not qualify for disability benefits. On the other hand, if the disorder affects your daily activities so much so that you can’t retain a normal employment, you may qualify for benefits.

Qualifying Through the Listing of Impairments

SSA maintains a comprehensive Listing of Impairments. More commonly known as the Blue Book, this listing includes a large number of disorders and disabilities that SSA recognizes. If a disability is already a part of this listing, it is easier to seek benefits for it. The only thing left is to see if you meet the specific criterion mentioned under the specific listing.

Bipolar disorder is included in the Section 12 of the Blue Book. This is the section that generally deals with mental disorders. SSA has three paragraphs of requirements under this listing. These are titled paragraphs A, B, and C.

The paragraph A details the general requirements of the medical evidence that must be available to substantiate your claim of suffering from bipolar disorder.

The paragraph B deals with various functional limitations that are imposed by your condition.

The paragraph C is about how serious, long-term and persistent your disorder or illness it.

Now, SSA requires that you must meet one of the following two criterions in order for your disorder to be recognized as a disability:

  • You condition must meet the requirements of paragraphs A and B


  • Your condition must meet the requirements of paragraphs A and C

If either of these criterions is met, your disorder essentially meets the specifications listed by the SSA. In such a case, your chances of receiving disability benefits are quite good.

Medical Documentation Requirements

These are listed in the paragraph A of the SSA Blue Book listing on bipolar disorder. According to this listing, you must provide medical proof of at least 3 of the following symptoms:

  • Deceased sleep needs
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Pressured speech
  • Flight of ideas
  • Involvement in such activities which are likely to result in painful consequences for you
  • Distractibility
  • Increase in psychomotor agitation or goal-directed activity

If you suffer from three or more symptoms listed above and have the medical evidence to back your claim, you essentially meet the requirements of the paragraph A.

Mental Functioning Limitations

In addition to the symptoms above, you must also be suffering from an extreme limitation in at least one or a notable limitation in at least two of the following areas:

  • Interacting with others
  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
  • Adapting to change or managing yourself

However, if you do not meet the paragraph B requirements listed above, you can still qualify through the requirements of the paragraph C requirements. As per paragraph C, you must meet the following requirements to qualify:

  • Your medical disorder has existed for at least two years and you have the medical evidence to back this
  • Your ongoing medical treatment or living conditions include an ongoing treatment, therapy, support or another setting such that it is vital to keep your bipolar disorder symptoms in check
  • If even minor changes are made to your environment or to your daily routine life, you have a minimum ability to cope and adjust

If you meet the requirements of the paragraph C in combination of the paragraph A, you are still eligible for SSA disability benefits.

Hiring Reliable Disability Lawyers in Columbia SC

If you live in Columbia, SC and want to seek disability benefits as someone who has bipolar disorder, we can help you. Here at Surface Law Firm, our attorneys are highly experienced in SSA’s disability requirements. Over the years, we have helped a large number of individuals successfully get disability benefits for both physical and mental limitations caused by various medical conditions. If you think you have a disability, contact us today and let’s see if you qualify as per SSA requirements.