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Long Term Disability For Bipolar Disorder

5 posts in this topic

Posted (edited) · Report post  

Hey guys,

My mom has brought up to me recently that she really thinks it would be in my best interest to see if I get can long term disability and social security for my bipolar disorder. I have given this some thought and have considered it, being as it's hard for me to work.

I am not sure if I am qualified. I am actually ashamed to even ask my psychiatrist. I am used to being judged on this condition and even have trouble bringing up issues to my own doctor. My own dad doesn't believe it's an existing illness but me just being a pain in the rear.

I am only 23. I feel I am pathetically young to even be considering this. I was diagnosed bipolar a little over two years ago but have been seeing doctors and a counselor long before that. I have suffered with depression and anxiety since I was in elementary school. My attendance at school was horrible and many times I was close to failing due to grades and missing so much. I barely graduated and would have dropped out if my parents would have let me.

I have been able to work that last few years but my work attendance has not been good. Many times I didn't want to go in because I was too depressed, sick from anxiety, or worn out physically and mentally to even go in. I switched departments at my old job and it was so stressful I had to get another job immediately. I have been at my current job for a year and a half now but my attendance there isn't great either. I get anxiety a lot there especially during the drive there. Long drives make me incredibly nervous. There have been several times I have been too overwhelmed by it all wanted to just never go in again. I am forced into staying there because I have to because of my car payment and that fact I need the insurance to be able to afford my medicine. I am on Lexapro and Lamictol.

I seriously wish I could just never go in again. I am tired of feeling overwhelmed by it all. I feel pathetic for even feeling this way. I feel as if I am no longer even human. Hardly anyone else around me feels this way.

My meds don't always work. I am oftentimes too tired to even get out of bed. Lately I have gotten so bad again I don't even want to leave the house for leisure activities or to even see my boyfriend. I just want to stay in my room and sleep. Nothing sounds fun. I don't want to go to work. It has always been like this, but lately it's been escalating.

It's like I am in a constant state of stress and tension.

Sometimes I get so full of despair I want to literally throw up.

I fear for my future. I am afraid I will snap under it all and just quit my job and get into financial trouble. I am tired of feeling so overwhelmed over things that are so 'small' to other people, like holding a steady job or going for a drive.

My mom thinks I should try to get long term disability since it's a condition that will never go away.

I hate the idea of not working but I think she has good points. The stress won't be good for me in the future. I also have very high blood pressure and am on meds for them. I am also overweight.

What are the chances of even winning this? What should I do? I know I need to see my psychiatrist, but any other suggestions?

Thanks much.

Edited by DazzleKitty

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Posted (edited) · Report post  

Hello DazzleKitty,

We have a administrator (Sheepwoman) who is very knowledgeable with the Social Security process and she will be able to help you more so than me. But I can share a little with you. I was approved for Social Security Disability but it took me 2 1/2 years before I got approved. I went through the last process where you go before a judge after being denied twice. After reading my updated information, they fully favored me for SSD. I learn that I could have gotten approved had I had all of my documentation in.

Its good that you are under the care of a psychiatrist and therapist as they will be the ones whose support you will need when filing for Social Security Disiability Income. If you don't have their support it will be hard getting approve and if you do have their support there is no guarantee that you will be approved, not to discourage you.

What Social Security will want to know is whether your mental health disease interferes with you working any kind of job. If it does and your documentation supports that then you have a good chance at getting approved. So my advice is to first discuss this with your psychiatrist and therapist and go from there. Wish you best.


Edited by lindahurt

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Posted · Report post  

Hi DazzleKitty,

Im used to hearing the doubt from parents. Have a friend who is schizophrenic and bipolar and her mom still things its all in her head (which it is if you think about it).

The main factor is the younger you are the harder it will be. Im 22 and have been told i havent work long enough. Im going to try to draw from my mothers social security. i cant remember but it might be 10 before you can collect. You can get SSI but its a much lower amount. its still a long process. Lawyers and non attorney spokeperson can help, but they charge 25% of your back pay up to $6k (federal limit).


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Posted · Report post  

A couple things I noticed in your post. Mainly, in my nonprofessional opinion, your meds aren't working the way they should I suggest you see your pdoc for a drug review. The only way they know if your meds are working is by what you tell him/her.

I'm Bipolar I. I did hold down 2 good jobs for over 20 years each. My med combo worked really well for me. There was a switch in management and my last job became extremely stressful. The new manager kept changing his mind on how we should be doing our job. He'd tell us one thing and then another the next week. We were always being berated for our job performance which was actually his fault. The stress finally got to me and I had a major breakdown. My meds began to fail. I was off over a year and was on State Disability (program in CA that employees paid into not the employers.) I was terminated from my job as my doc would only let me return to work provided I was put in another department which my employer would not do. I continued on State dis ability for a couple of years. My funds were about to dry up and it was suggested I apply for Social Security Disability. I got the forms and had help from the SS person at the non-profit agency I was working with. At that time, Social Security would request all the documentation from all the professionals who treated me. The docs had to respond to SS. My friends were sent forms to fill out regarding my ability to function on a daily basis. With all the professional documentation, SS determined I was severely handicapped from Bipolar with no chance of recovery. My case wasn't to be reviewed for 7 years which I think is this year. So far, I haven't heard from SS in that regards. (Your claim based on your disability status (per the Blue Book questionaire the docs have to fill out. The Blue Book of psychiatric evaluations is above) can be reviewed every three, five or seven years.) My claim was approved within 3 months. Claims can take 3-6 months before they're approved or denied. You can appeal the decision if your claim is denied. Appeals take a long time to resolve.) This is where an attorney is most helpful.

From what I understand, you are the one responsible for getting all the documentation from your treating professionals and submit them to SS. You can get the claim forms from your local Social Security office. You may need help in filling them out. Some non-profit agencies have Social Security oriented employees who can help you or you can hire a Social Security attorney (they're listed in the phone book.) Attorney fees are set by the Federal Government. They are entitled to a portion of your award and will send you a bill for services when your claim is approved (SS notifies them as well.) Oh, SS can go back one year from the date of your claim to see if you are due any back payments.

SS will analize your financial status and assets based on what you give them. They will go through each level of benefits to see where you qualify. They start with SSI, go to SSDI and finally to SSD. You will probably only qualify for SSI (State and federal program). The benefits are based on the quarters you paid into SS. Don't expect a huge benefit to be paid monthly. I barely live on what I get after working over 40 years.

I can't tell you if your claim will be approved or denied. I do know SS disability is becoming harder to get.

If I can help you further, let me know.


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Posted (edited) · Report post  

Hi there, Dazzle. You are not alone!

At the age of 21 (in 2001, I had a severe nervous breakdown and was forced to move home with my dad and stepmom. They insisted I should qualify for some type of aid and had me file for social security disability. With my frame of mind (which was barely there to say the least!), it was one of the hardest processes I'd ever been through, BUT... I qualified within 3 months as well. My life and work was a MESS up to that point, so trying to track down all the information was very difficult (over 20 different jobs, I think!), but it was worth it mostly for the Medicaid, which eventually became Medicare due to disability status. I received around $1200 per month in federal and state aid, along with insurance coverage of meds and doc visits (not that I knew how to take care of my finances because my brain was so scrambled).

The real issue sets in when your ego comes into play. For example, all the people around you who say you're a sponge on society. Or doctors who argue over whether your illness is considered a disability. I have a lot of trouble with this and that is why I looked into this topic! My review came after the 7 years, like Sheepwoman stated. Because of my confusion and embarassment about my illness, I chose to just let it go because I felt like I wasn't sick enough anymore to deserve it. The key word is DESERVE. You have a mental illness. You didn't DESERVE it, it's genetic. (I'm talking to myself here as well). Is it a disability? I think so! Is the illness going to go away? NO! Will medications and therapies come along to improve it? YES! But the illness still remains, regardless of our measures to cope with it.

If we need the help, we should seek it. When we are able to be self-sufficient and pay for the medications and doc visits on our own, then yes, let it go. I regret having done so because I am still on Medicaid, Food Assistance and Section8 because I cannot financially support my daughter and I. People who have never been in this situation cannot understand it and they possibly never will, but we MUST seek the help that is there specifically for people who cannot support themselves due to a disabling illness. Something I have been considering is reapplying because, while I am seeking a career to be financially secure by going to school (thanks to my meds), I am paying through the nose with tuition and loans. I took a class called the Legal Environment of Business and did a paper on the Americans with Disabilities Act. A title of the act states that once a person is found disabled they ARE disabled. The label cannot be removed, regardless of all the legalese crap the government tries to wring people through once you've been approved.

SO. point is, you have rights. This is America and we have laws in place for people in your position! Just have to reach out and demand if necessary for the help that's available.

Would love to hear how you're progressing... :computer:

Edited by chapstyck1979

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