Over 40 million Americans suffer some type of mental illness, including a mood disorder. Many mood disorders are mild, but some can be debilitating and result in a person’s inability to remain employed. Those with serious mood disorders may be unable to control their emotions and moods, making it impossible to perform the daily responsibilities of full-time work.

If you or someone you know cannot work because of a mood disorder, you may be able to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. These benefits can help relieve some of the financial difficulties you’re facing because of impairments related to your situation. Applying for Social Security benefits can be overwhelming, but Disability Advocates Group is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn whether you are entitled to Social Security benefits.

Conditions and Symptoms of a Mood Disorder

The term mood disorder is a broad umbrella term that covers many mental illnesses. The common factor in all mood disorders is that the disorder causes interference with a person’s emotions and mood. Bipolar disorder and depression are two of the most common mood disorders. However, the mood disorder can be applied to any condition that affects a person’s mood stability and emotional well-being.

There isn’t a single cause for mood disorders. Some people experience a mood disorder because of traumatic events or genetic predispositions. Mood disorders are usually diagnosed through a series of sessions with a qualified psychiatrist. While there is no cure for mood disorders, symptoms can be addressed through prescription medications and therapy treatment.

Anxiety and Depression-Related Mood Disorders

Mood disorders fall into two major categories: anxiety-related and depression-related. Clinical depression and bipolar disorder are the two most common depression-related mood disorders. Comment anxiety-related mood disorders include the following:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Agoraphobia
  • Stress disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits with a Mood Disorder Diagnosis

To obtain SSDI benefits, you must show that your mood disorder is a disability that prevents you from working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability as an impairment that has “prevented an individual from performing substantial work for twelve months and that is expected to prevent an individual from working for twelve continuous months.”

Mood disorders’ severity can increase and decrease over time. You may be able to function well for a month and then not be able to function at all. As a result, many individuals with mental disorders find it difficult to maintain gainful employment. Successfully applying for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can also be challenging based on a mood disorder diagnosis.

Qualifying for Benefits with a Mood Disorder

The Social Security Administration uses a set of guidelines called the residual functional capacity evaluation to determine whether you can work or not. If you have an affective disorder, you must meet the three following tests. First, you will need to have medically documented persistence of at least one of the following: depression, manic syndrome, or bipolar syndrome. If you have depression, you will need to show that you have at least four of the following:

  • Loss of interest in most activities
  • Appetite change resulting in changes in weight
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hallucinations
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Delusions or paranoid thinking

If you have manic syndrome, you will need to show that you have at least three of the following:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Flight of ideas
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Easy distractibility
  • Involvement in activities that have a high probability of painful consequences
  • Hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid thinking

Finally, you will need to show that these symptoms result in at least two of the following:

  • Marked restriction of activities of daily living
  • Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning
  • Deficiencies of concentration resulting in frequent failure to complete tasks on time
  • Repeated episodes of deterioration at work or in a work-like setting 

Submitting Medical Evidence of Your Mood Disorder

The diagnosis of mood disorders is somewhat subjective. It isn’t based on an objective diagnostic test like x-rays or blood work. Instead, mood disorder diagnosis is usually based on feelings and behavior, many of which are self-reported by the patient. For this reason, you must work with an attorney who can help you gather medical evidence showing the full extent to which your mood disorder affects your ability to work. We can help you obtain the medical records you need to prove the severity of your case. 

When you apply for benefits, you will be entitled to an examination from an independent medical consultant. They may agree that you have a mood disorder, but this examination will prove how long you’ve had the condition. Documented treatment histories by qualified psychologists and physicians can help you tremendously as you apply for benefits. Receiving treatment for your mood disorder regularly and having medical records. Documenting this treatment can help you receive a favorable outcome.

Applying for Benefits Under Affective Disorder – Bipolar

The medical community frequently considers mood disorders to include only anxiety and depression-related disorders. The Social Security Administration categorizes bipolar disorder as a type of mood disorder. Bipolar and depression disorders are viewed as separate from anxiety-related disorders. 

The Social Security Administration has different criteria for approving benefits with these two categories. When you apply for benefits, you will need to decide whether to file benefits under affective disorders (for depression and bipolar disorder) or anxiety-related disorders.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Los Angeles SSDI Mood Disorder Attorney

If you or your loved one cannot work due to the symptoms of a mood disorder, you should consider pursuing Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Many first-time applications are denied, but Disability Advocates Group can help you appeal. Two-thirds of disability cases are won at the hearing stage of the appeals process. Working with an experienced attorney will increase your chances of a favorable decision. Contact Disability Advocates Group today to learn more about your rights.