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Social Security Disability and Bipolar Disorder

Speaking from Experience


Updated June 30, 2014

Part 6: Words of Encouragement

From About Bipolar Disorder Forum Community members, more words of wisdom, stories of successful applications for benefits, and other encouragement from people who have obtained and lived on Social Security Disability.

Please be aware that this material contains the personal experiences and opinions of consumers and in no way should be construed as professional advice. To read more, please follow one of the links that precede each quote.

Quotes may have been edited by the Guides for spelling, grammar or clarity.

from Karene10
I was fired from 2 jobs for being BP. My counselor suggested I go to my local Social Security office. They gave me the info. It took quite a while and they first turned me down, but I appealed and finally won. I am now working part time at a job I love and have the support of my fellow workers.

from Makee88
I was able to get disability starting last year. They went back to last job I was fired from in 1985. It is based on my SS contributions and my deceased husband's. They also paid for one back year. I did not use an attorney. Instead I filed with a compiled list of hospitalizations (over 15 in over 20 yrs.). Also listed all the jobs I had been fired from.

from Cathartic1
I am 46 years old and just received SSDI on my first try without lawyers (approved in 3 months). Received it for PTSD and BP. I haven't worked since 1997 because of these illnesses, and used to run a corporate graphic design department. Today I wonder if I will ever go back to work. I am having problems getting stabilized on meds and have tried numerous kinds. Have an excellent pdoc and am not giving up. I was ashamed and humiliated to be on SSDI at first, however, today I am so grateful that I have assistance. Of course, I am fortunate to have a spouse with an income, also. If you do decide to apply, have good records and a good doctor. Best wishes for your health and happiness.

from TLRK
I went on Social security disability after leaving a state hospital. SSDI isn't all bad. It gives you the time to take a break. when your ready you can still work a bit. You can earn up to $700.00 a month. After two years you are able to get Medicare ... While waiting for the two years there are programs through most "welfare" programs that will assist in paying for medications or contacting the manufacturer of the drugs you are on; most have assistance programs and will send you free medications.

from Phil
I am on SSDI ... It became necessary after I could no longer carry on my day to day life as a result of this illness ... I don't think you should be ashamed or afraid to to go on SSDI. Like cancer or diabetes, what you suffer from IS an illness ... There REALLY is no blame to place, and as long as your are taking your meds, you are doing all that you can.

It does take time to get the ball rolling with Social Security. Plan on spending some time waiting for a decision, even though it may be more than evident to you and your Physician that you qualify ... This is a big organization that we are dealing with (SS), and 9 months or so could pass before you get an answer. You might even get turned down the first time. I did, but upon the advice from my Dr, reapplied and finally got accepted.

Once you are accepted, it is tough for you to lose it, so it is worth the time you take going through the process. If you feel too overwhelmed by the whole thing, ask your counselor to help you with the details.

from Llark1
After having read through the previous 17 messages, I'd like to say that SSDI is NOTHING to be ashamed of. We are ill, and if we can't work because of it, then we are disabled. That's what SSD is there for. This is NOT welfare. If you have worked in the past, you have paid into the system, the system being exactly the same as Social Security benefits for those over 65. You have also paid tax to Medicare, so if you receive that down the road, that is certainly not a "dole." Please do not feel ashamed! And, personally, since I receive SSDI, I feel sort of criticized by some of you who think it's "giving up" or something like that.

My application was approved in 3 months, largely because of my age (55 at the time) True, it is very common to get turned down on the first try, but nearly everyone will succeed upon appeal. I know exactly what some of you say about wondering what mistake you're going to make today at work, etc. The stress of trying to make it through the work day and "faking it" is probably just making your illness worse. The best medicine by far for bp is limiting stress (second only to good sleeping). I simply could not work and stay sane. To me, SSD wasn't giving up; it was advocating for and treating myself in a positive way in order to have a better quality of life.

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