Published on: September 20, 2022
As those who struggle with bipolar disorder know all too well, this condition is a mental illness that manifests itself through periods of mania and extremely upbeat feelings, followed, often quickly, but moods of severe depression or anxiety. Those who have this condition often experience it as a pendulum, swinging back and forth quickly. It affects both men and women, and while it can be treated by medication, there is, unfortunately, no "cure". Understandably, this condition can make the normal activities of day-to-day life difficult and can be disabling in many ways.
In some cases, bipolar disorder can be so severe that it renders those who struggle with it unable to work and earn an income as they normally would. This can be financially stressful, to say the least. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be wondering whether or not you are entitled to disability benefits, and if so, how much disability you might be able to receive.
Is Bipolar Disorder A Disability?
First and foremost, it's important to understand that for the Social Security Administration to pay benefits for a condition, it must first find that condition to be disabling. Typically, the Social Security Administration will look at a variety of factors in determining whether a condition meets the definition of “disability". These include factors pertaining to your medical condition and work abilities as outlined in the SSA's Blue Book:
- Work-related requirements: Generally, in order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you will need to be “insured” which means that you worked a job for a certain length of time through which you paid a portion of your income into the Social Security system. If you did not do so, you may be eligible to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, provided your condition is found to be medically disabling and you earn below a certain income level. As with any legal matter, consulting with an attorney who knows and understands the law can help you to determine whether you meet the work-related requirement.
- Medical requirements: Along with meeting the work-related requirements, those with bipolar disorder who are hoping to receive disability benefits will also need to meet the medical requirements set forth by the SSA. Generally, the SSA does consider bipolar disorder to be a disabling condition, if the individual seeking benefits can provide a diagnosis and medical evidence that aligns with the requirements of the SSA’s Blue Book.
If you can establish that you meet both the work-related and the medical requirements, you may be approved for disability benefits by the SSA. The question then arises – how much might you receive in benefits for your condition?
A Closer Look At Calculations
To understand how disability benefits are calculated by the Social Security Administration, it's important to realize that neither the type of disability you have nor its severity will affect the amount of benefits that you receive. Instead, the Social Security Administration will calculate your payment based on your lifetime average earnings before you become disabled.
The SSA will look at your earnings over a period of time, a number which is referred to as your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings, or AIME for short. The SSA uses that amount in a formula to determine your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), which is the basic amount used to determine your benefits. Generally, SSDI payments can range from an average of $800 and $1800 per month, although those amounts can be more or less depending upon your particular circumstances.
Those who are interested in learning more about how to calculate what their potential monthly benefit might be can use the Social Security Administration’s online benefits calculator. Ultimately, however, the best course of action for anyone considering a claim for disability benefits is to contact a legal team that knows and understands the law. A good attorney will be able to listen to your story and advise you as to your unique circumstances. Making the effort to find a legal team that can guide you through this process is well worth it.
Call The Disability Experts Today
Without question, having bipolar disorder is difficult. If you find yourself trying to live with this condition, you need to focus on treatment, self-care, and on enjoying life with those you love. You don't need the added stress of worrying about complex legal matters or wondering how you'll pursue the benefits you need and deserve. The good news is, that you don't have to. Instead, you can leave those matters to our knowledgeable and experienced team. We understand every aspect of the law, and we'll guide you through the process with the expert assistance you need. If you're ready to get started, we're here to help. Give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.