In this day and age, many claimants allege they are either bipolar or suffering from severe depression or both.
The problem is that when it comes to Social Security awarding benefits, the Administration is often skeptical. As with ADD or ADHD, there are just too many doctors diagnosing these disorders too often. While a person may genuinely be suffering from one or more mental conditions, proving to Social Security the conditions are so severe they are unable to work may be unrealistic.
Simply being diagnosed with such disorders is not enough to win your Social Security disability case. You MUST show that even despite medication to control such symptoms, the person still severely suffers from his or her condition. Further, these symptoms while even still being medicated must interfere with a person's ability to concentrate, interact with the public, follow even simple instructions, or keep pace with a normal work week or work day. To make matters even more difficult, there must also be periods of what the Administration deems "decompensation," in which a person is basically unable to function for many days or weeks.
Here is the usual scenario:
A person suffers from conditions of bipolar or depression or both and loses his or her job or is unable to work during a certain period. He or she goes to a doctor and the physician is able to control all of the symptoms through medication. At that point, once the symptoms are controlled, the person is (for the most part) able to work at least at an unskilled position somewhere in the national economy.
Now, I realize that many people feel that just because they suffer from these two conditions they should be considered disabled.
I wish it was that easy.
To understand why you would not be considered to be disabled is to understand what it really means to be disabled. Without going into the technical definition of what Social Security uses to define a disability, it really means that even if you are medicated for your symptoms, given your age, education, and past work skills, there would be no job you would be able to perform in the national economy.
The problem here is that Social Security can come up with quite a few unskilled jobs you could possibly perform. In fact, there are about 200 unskilled jobs Social Security deems a person can perform. Here are just some of the jobs you may be able to perform even if you have been diagnosed with bipolar or depression:
(1) Washroom Operator; (2) Ampoule Sealer; (3) Egg Processor; (4) Almond Blancher; (5) Leaf Tier; (6) Ink Printer; (7) Pager; (8) Cuff Folder; (9) Zipper Trimmer; and (10) Atomizer Assembler.
Sounds crazy doesn't it? Have you ever heard of these kinds of jobs? -I haven't and I am guessing you have not either.
So, if you are suffering from depression or bipolar, what can you do to win your case?
First and foremost, there must be medical records showing a continual problem with these conditions. Having solid and good medical evidence to back up your claim cannot be overemphasized when trying to win your disability case. Further, it helps if your medical records show at least a year or more of struggling with these conditions. This makes your claim much more credible.
Second, your medical records must also show that despite the doctor placing you on medication and you receiving counseling, you still continue to suffer from the symptoms associated with these conditions.
Third, when you go to your doctor for check-ups don't say, "everything is ok," or "everything is fine." Your doctor or the nurse updating your medical records is likely to note that you are stable on your medication. If you are stable on your medication, then you are not disabled and you could likely be able to perform at least one of the ten jobs listed above. If you truly do continue to suffer from severe conditions despite even being on medication, you must tell your doctor what symptoms you continue to suffer from. Remember, good medical records that state you are doing well on your medication is a sure way to lose your case.
Fourth, and this is likely the most important. You must have recent issues with hospitalization or periods of decompensation. If you were only hospitalized three years ago and you have not had any recent hospitalizations since then, it can be assumed you are stable enough to hold down a job.
While I hate to be the one bringing the bad news, it's better you learn this now rather than waste two years of your life trying to qualify for Social Security disability. Again, the reality is that these conditions, like ADD and ADHD, have been diagnosed too often and it is making it harder and harder to qualify for benefits for mental conditions.