Can I get disability benefits for having bipolar disorder?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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Can I get disability benefits for having bipolar disorder?

I am a 19 year old female who has been unemployed for almost 6 months because of mental problems. I have bipolar disorder and ADHD along with an unknown physical condition that causes me extreme pain. I lost my last job because of the anxiety it would give me, that also would give me heart palpitations. I am struggling to get by without a job and I wanted to know if I could acquire disability benefits until I’m better mentally?

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You probably cannot get disability benefits for this, but it would be worthwhile for you to consult with an experienced employment law attorney to be sure. Disability benefits are payable when someone cannot work; conditions that do not prevent work (even if they make it more difficult) and/or conditions which are fairly readily controllable medically will usually not result in receiving disability. Bipolar disorder and ADHD, for example, can both be controlled by fairly common pharmaceutical treatments (I've employed people with both, and my partner's wife is bipolar but is employeed at an executive level, so I have first-hand experience that these conditions do not necessarily prevent working).

It's possible that your condition is more intractable than most--that's why it's worth your time to consult in detail with an employment law attorney. However, speaking generally, rather than with regard to your specific symptoms, condition, etc., it would seem that you would probably not be able to receive disability.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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