Living with bipolar disorder can be both emotionally and physically exhausting. Not everyone with this disorder has the same experience though, as there are a range of symptoms that can vary in severity. This difference in experience may leave some people wondering whether they can qualify for SSDI benefits. 

Is bipolar disorder a disability? 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act — ADA — and the Social Security Administration — SSA — bipolar disorder is a disability. Some people in New Jersey are able to work despite having bipolar disorder, and protections afforded by the ADA means that they cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. However, there are also many people who are unable to work due to their bipolar disorder. 

This is where the SSA comes in, as it is supposed to provide financial benefits to those who are unable to work because of substantial limitations. When being evaluated for SSDI benefits for bipolar disorder, an applicant must provide medical documentation that notes at least three criteria for mania, including things like talking faster than normal or a decreased need for sleep. It will also look for areas of limitation, including trouble: 

  • Remembering or using information 
  • Focusing 
  • Adapting to change 
  • Practicing self-managing behaviors 

There is still a persistent stigma around mental health in New Jersey and much of the United States. This stigma along with misconceptions about SSDI benefits may prevent some people from getting the financial help they need. Those who are confused about what benefits they may qualify for or who are ready to move forward with the application process may find it easier with a knowledgeable attorney by their side.