August 12, 2009

Social Security Disability and Bipolar Disorder

depression.JPGIndiana residents who suffer with Bipolar Disorder often find themselves in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) when attempting to get their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the existence of Bipolar Disorder in their “Listing of Impairments” under listing 12.04 Affective Disorders.

Individuals suffering from Bipolar Disorder that are attempting to get disability benefits, may find it easier to win their case when they have a good long standing relationship with their health care professional.  It has been the experience of Indianapolis Attorney Scott D. Lewis, that many ALJ’s and medical experts that may testify at the hearing level, will put greater emphasis on medical records from a treating physician with a long relationship with that particular patient. 

There are certain aspects of Bipolar Disorder the SSA will focus on for depressive syndrome:

  • loss of interest in activities
  • appetite disturbance with loss or gain in weight
  • sleep disturbance
  • psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • decreased energy
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • thoughts of suicide
  • hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thing

There are other aspects of Bipolar Disorder the SSA will focus on for manic syndrome:

  • hyperactivity
  • pressure of speech
  • flight of ideas
  • increased self esteem
  • decreased need for sleep
  • increased distractability
  • involvement in activities with a high
  • probability of painful consequences that are not recognized

The above factors may cause restrictions in activities of daily living, difficulties in maintaining social functioning, difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence or pace, and episodes of decompensation each of extended duration.

The aforementioned are just some of the areas a Social Security ALJ may consider when deciding whether you have a disability that affects your ability to perform substantial gainful activity.

This information is not intended to be legal advice and Attorney Scott D. Lewis recommends you consult a qualified attorney or representative when pursuing you disability claim.  Scott Lewis understands how difficult your life can be when suffering with Bipolar Disorder.  Contact Scott D. Lewis, Attorney at Law, LLC for a free consultation at (317) 423-8888.

Filed under:Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments
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