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Win Social Security Disability For Bipolar: How To Build A Bullet Proof Case

May 16, 2008
Millions of Americans suffer from bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions that interfere with their ability to work. However, it can be very hard win approval for bipolar disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, compared to a person who has an obvious physical disability. Don't give up. It is well known that bipolar disorder can make employment impossible, but you will have to work harder to prove your case.

Use these 8 winning strategies and get the benefits you need and deserve:

1. Never Give Up: Don't hesitate to appeal a refusal. In fact, the number one tip from most disability experts is Appeal, Appeal, Appeal! Around 75% of claims are denied on the initial application, but most claims are granted on appeal. Sadly, most applicants don't understand this and 50% give up after their first try. Beat Social Security at its own game and get that appeal in within the 60 day deadline.

2. Learn the Language: Most applicants for bipolar disability are stressed and just want to get the process over with. This can lead to a lack of research and cutting corners when filling in forms. To win Social Security Disability for bipolar you MUST understand all the official definitions and terminology. Make sure your case looks exactly like what the Social Security Administration expects for this type of disability claim. For bipolar disorder, this means problems concentrating, thinking clearly, dealing with co-workers, excessive fatigue, poor work attendance, and similar issues.

3. Don't Delay: Some people think you must be out of work for a year to be eligible for bipolar disability benefits. This is not true.

4. Get Regular Medical Treatment: The Social Security Administration will not be satisfied unless you can demonstrate a consistent record of medical treatment. You must attend your doctor's appointments, counseling sessions, fill your medication prescriptions, and do everything else advised by your psychiatrist or other medical expert.

5. Don't Rely on Your Diagnosis: It is not enough to simply have an official diagnosis of bipolar disorder from an accredited medical practitioner. You will only win Social Security Disability for bipolar if you document how your illness impacts your ability to work. Use your paperwork to show the connections. For example, because of your bipolar disorder you often miss work, cannot concentrate and make mistakes in your work tasks, or get into arguments with co-workers.

6. Stay Organized: Never hand over an original document unless you have a copy of it. Keep a complete mirror file of all your completed forms, records and any other paperwork.

7. Be Nice: Yes, the process is difficult, slow and stressful, but the folks at Social Security are stressed too! They have a job to do and you will get nowhere by losing your cool. Always be calm and polite. If the process sounds overwhelming, then think seriously about our final tip:

8. Get Expert Help: The cost of a professional disability attorney or other expert representative is regulated by law. Usually it will be 25% of back benefits, up to a maximum of $5,300. The average costs are usually around $2,500. Of course, most people cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars. The best solution is to leverage the expertise of the professionals and use a DIY Social Security Disability kit created by an expert that takes you step by step through the process of preparing a bullet proof case for bipolar disability.

Public understanding of bipolar disorder is improving all the time. Follow the 8 strategies above and build a cast iron case for winning Social Security Disability for your bipolar.
About the Author
Sarah Freeman is an attorney with manic-depressive illness and webmaster of Bipolar Lives - a leading Internet provider of information and resources to support education and consumer advice. To learn more see Applying for Bipolar Disability.
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