Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

How long does it take to get SSI Disability Benefits?

"Hi, I am writing to you, because I have filed an application for SSI, due to being diagnosed with BPD. Reading about BPD, though it may sound strange coming frommyself in saying so. Though, even I can acknowledge, and from what my therapist says, is severe emotional dysregulation. BPD, I have read causes severe handicaps in many areas of life, because being able to appropriately relate, and balance yourself (emotions, reactions to stress/stressful situations), especially so in holding down a job, can and has caused me some definate problems. I should say, to be able to "go with the flow & mesh", which is a must in holding down lengthy employment. These are issues, which my therapist has explained to me, which I can acknowledge to be true.

I applied for SSI, in January 2010, and was denied after a 3rd or 4th suicide attempt, and finally diagnosed with BPD. Since that time, I have also had a court hearing and was denied, on the basis that I could always go about the rest of my life working as a dishwasher. This may be true, but one of the main characteristics of BPD, is frequent loss of employment, whether this be washing dishes, or what have you.

As of now, I live at home. I am 29. I left home early, without ever saving for a car, to get away from my step-father's alcoholism and behavior. I lived most of this time, from the ages of, I'd say, 17-24 with a boyfriend. After seperating from him, I was back to nothing. I had just gotten a degree and licence (career college). But, as my mother worked full-time, I had no way to get to a job.

Anyhow, not having a car, or way to get to a job now is a huge, disabling issue for me. I felt that with SSI, I could at least have my own transportation to try and work. Now, I am at the point, I am on my second attorney. And, yes, we are very much below the poverty line. As my mother works, as a hairdresser (full-time), her husband, nor I work, and she is taking care of her mother-in-law.

I spoke (on the phone) with a woman who represents my current attorney. I had to file all over again, and the "date disability began" was wrong. I left a message informing them of this, and was told by the lady, for me to get SSI could take up to 10 yrs.

I do not have a life-time to wait to get help, to better myself. And, I know that BPD is listed in the SSI blue-book as a disabling condition. Not to mention, SSI is for those persons considered disabled, and under the poverty line.

My question is this..... To be told, I may have to wait 10 yrs., is this normal? Because, I really don't have another 10 yrs. to wait. I am in an unstable environment, and really want to get out again, and better myself, before it is too late. Also, is there anything I can do at all to speed up this process, after having to file again?.... And, if so, I really cannot understand why I am being denied? If anyone honestly knew my situation and could empathize, they would understand. Any helpful tips?


Unfortunately, there is very little you can do but file the SSI application if you want to “eventually” be approved for SSI disability benefits. Your attorney or representative cannot guarantee when or even if you will be approved for disability benefits.

And, while bipolar disorder is listed in the blue book as a disabling condition, it does not guarantee you will be approved for disability benefits on the basis of a diagnosis. Social Security disability determinations are based upon current as well as past medical evidence. If your bipolar disorder has improved due to proper treatment and you have been able to complete a degree and become licensed, it may indicate that the severity of your condition does not meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program.

I understand that bipolar disorder causes all kinds of limitations that would prevent steady work activity, and it may do so in your case as well. Lack of transportation is disabling when it comes to maintaining employment, however it not a medical disability that can be considered for Social Security disability determinations.

Social Security disability guidelines require you to have a severe medical condition that prevents you from engaging in substantial work activity. If the evidence in your case shows that you are unable to work because of your bipolar disorder, you may be approved much sooner than the “ten year” arbitrary time frame the woman at your attorney’s office told you. I understand why she could not commit to any certain amount of time because there is no way she or your attorney could know how long it will take for you to get SSI disability benefits.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Disability hearing questions
Do you have to go to a mental exam after applying for disability?
How long to get SSI back pay?
How long does it take to get SSI?
SSI reconsideration
Scheduled for a disability hearing before a judge
How long does it take to get SSI after being approved?
Helpful tips for going to social security disability hearing

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria