New Law on Social Security for Depression & Bipolar

Social Security Issues New Listing
for Depression & Bipolar Disorder

Collecting Social Security Disability for a mental or psychological condition such as depression or bipolar disorder have been difficult in the past.But “proving” psychological and mental symptoms to Social Security has always been challenging.

As experienced Social Security Disability lawyers, we understand that depression & bipolar disorders are just as real, painful and disabling as any other illness. Outdated ideas and prejudices about mental illness often resulted in deserving Social Security Applicants being denied Social security benefits.

But this month our attorneys would like to share some very good news for Social Security applicants who are suffering from depression or bipolar disorder. On September 26, 2016, the Social Security Administration comprehensively revised the criteria they use to asses disability claims involving mental and psychological disorders. Included in those revised regulations was a new listing for depression or bipolar disorder.

These new regulations – officially titled “The Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders”-  have updated the standards for evaluating SSD claims for mental disorders. The new listing goes into effect on January 17, 2017.

Under the Obama Administration, Social Security consulted with mental health vocational experts, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, disability policy experts, and members of the public in crafting these new criteria.

New Law is Good News for Depression & Bipolar Disorders
and Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

The new listing for depression or bipolar disorder, which we have included below, may seem a bit hard to understand at first. But as experienced Social Security disability attorney, we can assure you that the bottom line is that this new listing is excellent news individuals suffering from depression or bipolar disorder.

What the new depression or bipolar disorder listing means is that the Social Security Administration is finally recognizing depression or bipolar disorder according to current mental health standards – and has updated and specific criteria for evaluating it.

If you suffer from depression or bipolar disorder and are unable to work because of it, the laws for collecting Social Security Disability are now more favorable for you. Call our experienced Social Security Disability lawyers today, and we explain how this new listing may apply to your own Social Security Disability case.

The New Depression & Bipolar Listing from Social Security’s
Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders

Depressive, bipolar and related disorders must satisfy “A and B”, or “A and C”.


  1. Medical documentation of the requirements of paragraph 1 or 2:
  2. Depressive disorder, characterized by five or more of the following:
  3. Depressed mood;
  4. Diminished interest in almost all activities;
  5. Appetite disturbance with change in weight;
  6. Sleep disturbance;
  7. Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation;
  8. Decreased energy
  9. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
  10. Difficulty concentrating or thinking; or
  11. Thoughts of death or suicide.
  12. Bipolar disorder, characterized by three or more of the following:
  13. Pressured speech;
  14. Flight of ideas;
  15. Inflated self-esteem;
  16. Decreased need for sleep;
  17. Distractibility;
  18. Involvement in activities that have a high probability of painful consequences that are not recognized;
  19. Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation



  1. Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning:
  2. Understand, remember, or apply information.
  3. Interact with others.
  4. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace.
  5. Adapt or manage oneself.



  1. Your mental disorder in this listing category is “serious and persistent;” that is, you have a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both:
  2. Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder; and
  3. Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life.

Los Angeles Social Security Attorneys Get
Maximum Benefits for Depression & Bipolar

If you suffer from depression, bipolar disorder – or any other disability – and you live in the Los Angeles area, Orange County, or anywhere in Southern California, we offer a free consultation with an experienced social security attorney to help you understand your rights and obtain the maximum disability benefits.

Click Here or call for a free consultation with a Social Security attorney: 562-622-4800

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