I live in Texas and go to our local small town MHMR clinic.  A couple of months back–out of the blue–they suddenly called me and aske me to come in and visit with them. When I went in they advised me to apply for disability.  After putting off doing this, feeling that I did not want to take money I did not deserve, I finally turned in the application about a week ago.

Is it truly realistic to expect to get approved for disability for a diagnosis of Bi-Polar II, and if so will the powers at be approve this easily or fight it to see how long I will hang in there?

I have pretty much been out of work for the past two years.  My work history has finally hit home in my town of 12,000 blessed souls, so I could use some monetary help if it was to ever come my way.

On my last Social Security statement it said that if I became disabled at that time I would be elgible for $1500.00 plus dollars a month.  Now this may have likely been speaking of a physical disability and not a mental one.  So, if they do approve me for disability based on my MHMR records does your experience indicate that it will be based upon any kind of disability or do they in fact detract or deduct for mental disabilities as far as the dollar amount they will allow you to draw each month.  Man that was a mouth full, huh.  Talk about pressured speech.

Thanks, and hope I made some sense.  I know nothing of this kind of stuff, whatsoever.

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Can a person get disability benefits for Bipolar Disorder?  The answer would be yes.  I can only go on my own personal situation and I can touch on a few others I am acquainted with as friends.

Getting disability benefits can be difficult for some but easy for others.  I am not sure why.  I am going to focus on Social Security Disability in this post.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at 21 years old.  After my diagnosis I really struggled to keep the job I had and to make it on my own.  My employer ended up putting me in a receptionist position.  I was a junior engineer doing much more technical work.  They didn’t cut my pay or anything like that, but they told me they had to have somebody who they could rely on and be coherent enough to do the engineering job daily.  I still bite my tongue over this, but they were right.

In 1996 I married my husband.  I was doing fairly well and working again in a facility that dealt with patient accounting.  I did pretty good but my boss just about pushed me over the edge.  She was awful and I couldn’t take it so I quit.  I didn’t really work much after that.

In 1998 I got pregnant with my first child.  I did OK through the pregnancy and felt pretty good on minimal medications.  I tried to work again but the stress got to be too much and I quit my job again.  Just shortly after that I found out I was expecting again and my boys would be seventeen months apart.  Ay yi yi!  Again, I did OK with this son’s pregnancy but noticed much more mood fluctuation but nothing I couldn’t handle.  I got pregnant again when second son was fifteen months old.  This pregnancy was different.  All of a sudden I was a mess.  A big mess but I could only take minimal medications.  This was our last baby and I wanted to enjoy the pregnancy but I couldn’t.

In telling a friend what was going on with me she asked if I had ever applied for Social Security Income or Disability.  I had never even thought of it until she mentioned it.  So, I started the process of paperwork in April of 2002.  I did all of the necessary interviews, seeing their doctors, and providing my medical records so they could see what had been going on for years with this disorder in my life.  I didn’t qualify for Social Security Income but I qualified for disability.

They said the process would take about six months and they were right.  I just didn’t worry about it.  If they needed more information I provided it.  Then in December of that year I got accepted for Social Security Disability.  They notified me by letter.  I have been on that benefit plan ever since. My kids also draw a benefit, too which is a plus.

I do know of others who have had trouble getting disability.  I am not sure why.  Many get told they aren’t accepted on the first try with Social Security.  I think a lot of people try again and some use a lawyer to help them receive these benefits.

I won’t lie.  It’s a really long process and you have to follow through with every single things they tell you to do.  You have to meet all deadlines they set.  You can’t miss appointments whether you are sick or not.  I was pregnant and I felt terrible but I still had to go.  This is really important.  The interviews are long and the doctor visits take a lot of time.  But if you are serious about drawing this benefit be sure and be on top of it and prompt.  If you are having trouble then get a trusted friend or family member to help you with all the paperwork, interviews and doctor appointments.

Don’t get discouraged.  You can draw these benefits but sometimes it takes a while to get accepted.  And don’t be afraid to get a lawyer if you have to try and a second time to receive these benefits.

So….yes, you can get disability because you have Bipolar Disorder.  I do not know if there’s any other types of disability benefits out there.  This is the only one I am familiar with at this time.

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