Bipolar disorder as a qualifying condition for Social Security

Bipolar disorder is one of many mental health disorders can qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI). These two important Social Security programs provide vital assistance to the many Americans who struggle with mental health problems that leave them unable to work.

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive illness and impacts people of all ages and backgrounds. New York Jets backup quarterback Erik Ainge recently told ESPN New York about his struggles with bipolar disorder. The 24-year-old football player told ESPN that he has suffered from rapid cycling bipolar disorder for many years.

“I’m up and down and all over the place even when I’m on my medication,” he said. “That’s a daily battle in itself. That was diagnosed by doctors in ’09. I’ve had it for a long time, but I never told anybody about it.”

Ainge decided to speak out about his mental health disorder in order to encourage others to seek treatment. Although Ainge is able to play football despite his mental health issues and other medical problems, many American workers are unable to continue working because of bipolar disorder. These workers may be eligible for DIB or SSI benefits.

Social Security Disability benefits are available to workers who have earned money while working and thereby paid into the national disability insurance system. Supplemental Security Income benefits are available to needy individuals who have not necessarily paid into the Supplemental Security Income system. SSI benefits can also extend to dependents and children of a disabled worker.

Source: ESPN New York, “Ainge: ‘I had to get help before I died,'” Rich Cimini, 3/31/11