Disability for bipolar and/or addiction

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by LauraH, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Has anyone had any experience with a loved one getting SSI for either or both? I've been urging my son to look into it as he seems to have greater periods of unemployment than employment. So far he's refusing because he says it doesn't pay enough to live on. But he's had virtually zero income for the past several months and I would think $750 is better than $0 any day.

    Sad thing is, he got Medicaid and food stamps when he lost his job with Chase but then they got taken away when he got another job. His current cycle is getting a job and losing or quitting it within a week or two then finding another one and doing the same thing. Apparently he's not been out of work long enough to qualify for benefits but long enough to not have enough money to live on...he'll get one paycheck from Job A then three or four weeks later one paycheck from Job B, and so on. And I seriously doubt he's budgeting what money does come his way in any significant manner.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    He would have to apply and be assessed as unable (not unwilling) to hold a full time job by a psychologist. You can work and make up to $1000 while on SS at least in my state. My autistic son works and gets SSI and is on his own. Completely. But he tries hard and obeys the law.

    I dont think addiction is considered a disability. In my state it is not. Bipolar can be. It depends.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
  3. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    I have a good friend that would flake out and walk away from whatever job he had at the moment every three to six months. Turned out a lot of it was because he was bipolar. I think it's a mix of unable and unwilling with my son, but how much of which I don't honestly know. I just wish he would look into it, but the amount of money he could get monthly between SSI and a job would be "beneath him." In the meantime he owes several friends money that he can't repay since Mama's Money Boat is in drydock.
  4. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I know you can get ssi for bipolar but it is a process for most and may require legal help. The first time you apply will probably be turned down. Thats what my councelor told me. I think hospitals or jail can expediate but i won't swear to it.
  5. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    What is his diagnosis? It helps your case if you have a diagnosis, are under the care of a psychiatrist and therapist, hospitalizations, neuropsychologist exam. You need evidence that shows you are unable, not just unwilling, to work full time and support yourself.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I went through it. They will look at evidence, a diagnosis, and the person will be tested by Disability's psychologist unless he has already been evaluated by a professional they work with. Since thousands of folks with bipolar have jobs, many high level, you dont get Disability just for a bipolar diagnosis. You need proof that the bipolar and maybe other issues (not drug abuse) cause an inability to work. It is getting harder to get Disability. States are making it more difficult.
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I'm not sure about SSI, but I draw SSDI and have for several years, based on my bipolar, making it impossible for me to work. It is based on how much work I missed due to symptoms, and issues I had AT work due to symptoms. My lawyer and I did have to take it to the point of going before a judge, a psychologist, and a vocational expert before I was approved, which thankfully was done by video conferencing.

    SSDI is federally based.
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  8. OTE

    OTE Guest

    You can"t apply for him. As others have said there's lots if evaluations. He has to admit that he has a problem. That's usually where it all falls apart. He has to admit that the job losses were his fault. There has to be documentation of the jobs and reason for termination. Is there evidence of his behavior on the job that got him fired? Even texts from coworkers or bosses would help.

    Look at the ss definition of disabled. It talks about permanent. That's part of why its hard for young people to qualify. Can he prove that he will never learn to be more functional?

    Not saying that a young mentally ill and/ or addict won't get ss disability ssi or SSDI. But its very hard. Especially if he has an avg or better IQ.
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  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    The thing is, if you are on SSI, you can work but can only earn say $1000 a month. You can still keep your disability. My son has it. He is on the autism spectrum with a normal IQ amd is 24. He got it at 18 due to school professionals and a ten hour neuropsychological evaluation. He has always worked.

    I believe it is more about if you are unable to work to make a sustainable income than if you can work at all. My son is a good worker and smart but working too much overwhelms him due to the autism and sensoey issues. He has never not worked at all.

    We never neefed a lawyer but sicial security is NOT the place to apply. We went to Aging and Disabilities. Social Security cant make this decision. Its a mistake many make.

    The State Disability office made the decision and he had lots of support. Sometimes he makes too much to get a full disability check. It is month to month. He does have Medicare and a great cheap place to live where he cares for his own needs. It is frim the Housing Authirity and he knows most people in his building. It is for adults with debelopmental delays and it rocks
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  10. OTE

    OTE Guest

    Sorry, not a mistake that ss determines whether or not a person qualifies for ss. In your state they may have a contract with your state gov't to do some part of the work. But ss makes the determination. Best advice is to call ss and find out what to do. If they have a contract with your state to do the evaluation they will let you know who to contact. Whether or not an evaluation is necessary and how long it takes is up to them. I've personally been through this process 4 times in two states with my own kids and more with other kids. Currently in third time with one of mine. But that's on another thread.

    Certainly its not about whether or not someone works. But the inability to sustain employment is often symptomatic of some kind of problem. Could be physical illness, mental illness or a host of other things. In my experience, bipolar and addiction evaluation is going to look at employment. Again, ss disability termination is very clearly defined on their website. Working while on disability is also clearly defined as "not substantial". Its not about the amount of money. But is also very different for different types of disabilities. My son is autistic and works 20 hours a week. That's very different from the bipolar and/or addict who might work 60 hours for mo and then not at all for mo. Such people historically will lose SSI Occupational Therapist (OT) SSDI due to a period of functional status. They then have to re apply when there's a low functioning period. The second time around its harder to get approved because its harder to prove its a permanent disability. There are at least two different types or "work incentive" program's which allow SSI to continue while there is a period of increased functionality.

    I think it should also be noted that no matter how you apply something like 75% of people are denied. That's an overall stat and doesn't apply to children in self-contained classes, with very low IQ scores, or with the ssa defined illnesses eg terminal illnesses. But a young person with bipolar/ addiction who is not confined to an institution has a very low chance of approval. Depending on area it typically takes several years to get an appeal.

    I apologize for anything in here about occupational therapy. I didn't write that. Some horrible editing system exists here which insists on calling my children difficult! Of all the terrible things to say about a disabled child!
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I am sorry. However I worked with SSI in both Illinois and Wisconsin. The money you are allowed to make while on SSI or SSDI here is $1000 for all who collect it. My son qualified due to having autism. But I got SSDI at 50 and did not even seek it out. I was at Job Rehab and they said I had to apply for SSDI before they could help me. I did it just to be allowed to get services and didnt expect to qualify....but I got it! First time. Never went to SSI. Never tried to apply until i was told I had to.

    In my state, SSI may be the final place that qualifies you, but it was definitely not the local SSI Office. Took a few months and decision came from our state capital. And I dont live even close to Madison. Im in Wisconsin.

    My best advice is to check your state rules. They can vary. I worked most of my life although i had and still have serious learning problems, never able to be completely diagnosed. But they made it hard to keep a sustainable job. Still, I worked, functioned, raised a family and was never on benefits and still got approved when I wasnt even applying!! And I worked after I got SSDI too. I just had to make sure I didnt earn over $1000. Most of my jobs were lower paying so never a problem. Plus I got Medicare and Medicaid. SS i never evaluated me or my son. Not sure why. I think OTE is telling the absolutte truth about her situations, maybe most siruations, maybe her states?

    SSI never tested me or my son and I never heard of a bipolar diagnosis. from SSI. They used my neuropsychologist and psychiatry records. This does not mean that other people dont get tested through SSI. I have no idea.

    Anyhow, check your own state laws. Each case is seperate. Each state is different.
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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  12. OTE

    OTE Guest

    Being an accountant and having an extensive background in law I am a specific about law. First, SSA is a federal govt agency. It must apply the same laws across the country. It has, amongst others, a procedural book called the "blue book." SSI is a federal program loosely referred to as federal welfare. In order to qualify for this a person can have no more than $2,000 in assets or another very low number in income. It pays a fixed amount to everyone which is roughly $750 a mo. Some states supplement that with another minimal amount usually less than $100 a mo. These amounts increase based on inflation. SSDI is disability income for people who paid into ss by working. It has no asset or other income requirements.

    The amount a person can earn while collecting SSI is not $1,000. It is not a fixed amount. Each mo the recipient has 15 days to send all paystubs for the mo to SSA. They then put the numbers into their system and send a statement indicating whether the person will receive an SSI payment for that mo. There is a 2 mo lag. This is all more detail than was asked. The $1,000 earning number quoted is actually a little low but certainly a usable number for planning purposes. I live with this hassle as my son is working and collecting SSI. My son is on an hourly wage on a bi-weekly payroll. So 2 mo a year he gets more than the allowed earnings and thus zero SSI. He's an 11 mo employee so there's 2 mo when he gets a higher SSI check. But with the 2 mo lag that means 2 mo with not enough to pay the rent.

    Disability under any kind of insurance is based on functional level not diagnosis. You may have a broken bone even a broken skull. That doesn't mean that your disability insurance will pay. Its based on your ability to do your job. If your medical record says that your broken skull requires you to be confined to bed in traction there's unlikely to be further medical evaluation. Clearly you can't get to work and will qualify for disability... Temporary disability insurance anyway. So my point is that how extensive the evaluation is will be based on the records that exist, not the diagnosis. Further, diagnosis itself is, with just a couple of exceptions, not sufficient for eligibility. Autism as we know is a spectrum. Level of function determines eligibility. Bipolar and addiction are the same.

    Some internet research will help if you want to know more. Google ssa blue book.
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  13. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Our daughter got it immediately for bipolar and she had a ton of medical back up. She also has some other medical issues, which may have played a role in the decision...I'm actually unsure of that. the Bipolar with much medical documentation was the main reason she was approved. Then again, I have also heard that people with a secondary illness of some kind are more likely to get approved.

    Fairly sure addiction would not qualify and I have heard it could be detrimental.

    Can't stress enough to see the doctor regularly. Google the ssi qualifying information. When you have formulated your questions, give them a call at the 1 800 number. They were helpful.
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  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    In Wisconsin there is noise about taking benefits away from addicts who dont pass random drug testing. I think its incredibly cruel as addiction IS a disability in my eyes and so far it hasnt happened. I dont think it helps, at least in WI, to have addiction down as a diagnosis. This is now a very conservative state.