Can I apply for benefits with bipolar and no long term medical history?

Hello, I am 32 and turning around to see my life is a mess! I have realized that I am bipolar. I am very afraid of doctors and have had terrible experiences with doctors and nurses since I was a child. As a teenager I did try and get professional help, I was told it was normal for someone my age to be "moody". Because of this I have no medical history or documentation stating I have been bipolar since I was born likely. I am open to seeing a doctor to confirm I am truly Bi-polar but I also have a large fear of medication.

Would I be able to apply for benefits with no long term medical history and seek therapy WITHOUT medication? I have a cycle of moods that have led to many job losses, homelessness and Im seeing that working with others is becoming more difficult as I get older. Im hoping to be able to care for myself without my condition affecting those around me, I am tired of losing everything and everyone.

You can certainly apply for disability with no history of treatment. There is nothing to prevent that and a claim will always be taken by Social Security unless you fail to meet the most basic non-medical requirements such as working and making too much income, or having too much in assets (if your claim is for SSI).

That said, while there is a chance that you might be approved with no medical history, it is very difficult and practically close to impossible. Social Security needs to have medical records in order to make a decision. Those records need to be obtained from a qualified source and they need to be able to document two things:

1) That your condition is severe enough to meet the SSA disability definition NOW, as in "the present".

2) When your condition began. This essentially refers to your date of onset, which will help determine when you might be eligible for medicare, but it will also help determine how much back pay you might be eligible to receive.

It appears that you have no counseling or professional psychiatric treatment and that you have never been hospitalized. I would suggest that you should go ahead and seek some treatment.

As to whether or not your condition can be dealt with without medication, you would have to ask the treating professional. I would suggest that it does not hurt your disability claim if you are getting treatment and you are taking prescribed medication. The severity of mental conditions can be somewhat subjective, so the more objective medical evidence you have to support you disability case the better.

The following link will provide some information on how SSA views bipolar disorder.

On this next page, you can find information about how disability approvals are made.

Finally, this page discusses Factors involved in Winning SSDI or SSI Claims.

I hope things get better for you.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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