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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder Disability Claim Lawyers in South Portland, Maine

As a military veteran, you have given your all to protect and serve your country, even if it has resulted in injuries or medical concerns. It is known that serving in the military carries its own set of risks, such as developing mental health illnesses such as bipolar disorder. But, this does not mean you are alone. Through VA disability claims, the United States government ensures that you are taken care of.

Our veterans’ benefits law office is staffed with devoted and knowledgeable attorneys that have assisted veterans like you in obtaining disability claims. We provide legal services that will be helpful to your case, such as step-by-step guidance during the application process, drafting an appeal, providing legal advice on how to optimize disability ratings, and more.

Set up a free consultation with us today!

Why do I need a Bipolar Disorder Disability Claim Lawyers in Maine?

When you are a veteran with a bipolar disorder that is connected to your military service, you can file a VA disability claim to mitigate the effects of such a condition. While this is a good thing, especially for you, the problem is that you’ll have to establish that your disability was acquired in relation to your military service. 

Documents, such as medical records, will be required to demonstrate a link between your impairment and your service. If such a document is not available, you must find other alternatives that will substantiate your claim, which can be challenging at times because there is no other proof as strong as medical records.

This is where a Maine veteran benefits lawyer from Jackson & MacNichol with years of expertise comes in helpful. Our bipolar disorder disability claim lawyers are well-versed in how the procedure works and what standards you must meet. They also drafted appeals for denied claim petitions, appeared before Veterans Law Judge or an appeals council, and effectively established the necessity of their client’s circumstances. 

In addition, we provide legal services to various following practice areas like social security disability benefits (e.g., Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income) and estate planning.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

bipolar disorder disability claim lawyers in maineThis mental health illness or mood disorder produces dramatic, unexpected changes in mood, energy or activity levels, focus, and capacity to carry out daily tasks. It exhibits signs of emotional highs (e.g., mania or hypomania) and lows (e.g., depression).

What are the different types of Bipolar Disorder?

You must realize that there are several types of bipolar disorder, each with its own set of medical intervention necessities and symptoms.

  • Bipolar I Disorder: characterized by manic episode symptoms that persist at least seven days, with the possibility of depression episodes. Manic symptoms are usually so severe that medical intervention is required.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: exhibits both depressive and hypomanic episodes.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: exhibits brief periods of depressive and hypomanic episodes lasting at least two years.
  • Unspecified or other types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder symptoms may not always fit into one of the categories listed above. A great example is bipolar and associated illnesses that may be induced by drugs or alcohol as a result of a medical condition (e.g., Cushing’s disease).

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a person having Bipolar Disorder?

Those suffering from bipolar disorder may experience what we called as mood episodes. During an episode, a person with this mental disorder displays abnormally intense emotion, changes in sleep habits, and strange actions. These episodes may last several days or weeks.

In general, there are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: 

Manic and hypomanic episodes 

Both types of episodes display the same symptoms; however, the difference is in the severity of the symptoms. Symptoms of manic episodes are intense to produce apparent functional impairments or issues at work, school, or other activities. Hypomania, on the other hand, has mild to severe symptoms that can persist for up to four days or a week.

The symptoms of both types of episodes are as follows:

  • Demonstrates euphoric behavior
  • Taking up more activity, high level of energy or agitation
  • Has an inflated feeling of well-being and self-assurance
  • Spending more time awake
  • More talkative than usual
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Has bad decision-making abilities, such as being impulsive.

Depressive episodes

A person suffering from a major depressive episode may experience significant symptoms that hinder functioning in daily activities such as job, school, or relationships.

Symptoms inlcude:

  • Demonstrates depressed feelings or mood (e.g., hopeless, empty, or feeling sad)
  • Shows signs of suicidal tendencies, such as ideation, planning, or attempt.
  • Indecisiveness or diminished capacity to think or focus
  • Having a loss of interest or excitement in practically all activities.
  • Exhibits significant changes in weight (losing or gaining weight) and appetite.
  • Sleeping disorder (e.g., insomnia or excessive sleeping)
  • Experiencing restlessness, fatigue, loss of energy, or slowed behavior.
  • A constant sense of worthlessness
  • Having an excessive or unreasonable sense of guilt

Mixed episodes

From what the name suggests, a person having bipolar disorder may experience both manic or hypomanic and depressed symptoms at the same time. It is important to note that one mood state will outweigh another, like being in a manic state but experiencing some depressive episode symptoms.

Why is it important to understand the types of episodes and symptoms? This matters because the US Department of Veterans Affairs has to examine the intensity of your symptoms and if they may prevent you from working. The agency uses a rating system to determine how much and what type of disability claim you should get. 

That is why working with an experienced Maine VA disability attorney is crucial in showing that your symptoms seriously impair your capacity to work.

How Can I Show Service Connection For the Bipolar Disorder That I Have?

Of course, if you want to get VA disability benefits for your bipolar disorder, you must prove that the disorder is service-connected. This means that the disorder is linked to a veteran’s military service.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs needs you to fulfill the following criteria in order to establish service-connected bipolar disorder:

  • An in-service disability, injury, or incident;
  • A medical diagnosis of the current bipolar disorder; AND
  • A medical connection exists between the in-service incident and the present diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

While these elements are pretty straightforward, the burden here lies in proving them in the eyes of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency may require you to provide documents to outline the three elements, which may be in the form of: 

  • medical records (e.g., in-service treatment records or private treatment records), 
  • service personnel records, 
  • incident reports, 
  • performance evaluation documents, 
  • and other related documents that provide a complete picture of the condition’s manifestation or whether it was exacerbated during military service.

Remember that this step is crucial since it helps determine whether or not the VA will grant you a disability benefit. If you don’t know how or are unsure what to do, don’t worry; our Maine Bipolar Disorder Disability Claim Lawyers are here to help. They have successfully assisted veterans in similar situations to yours by providing them with legal advice and representation.

How Does VA Rate my Service-Connected Bipolar Disorder?

The VA uses a disability rating to establish a person’s disability compensation rate. Basically, what is considered here is how your bipolar disorder impacts your general health and capacity to operate, such as your ability to work.

For all mental health conditions, the VA follows a diagnostic criteria set out in 38 CFR § 4.130 (or known as Schedule of ratings – Mental disorders)

Here are the disability ratings for bipolar disorder:

  • 0%: Your bipolar disorder does not necessitate constant medication and does not cause functional limitations in your social and job activities.
  • 10%: There is a manifestation of minor symptoms that causes functional impairments in your social and work activities, or such mild symptoms may be well controlled with the aid of ongoing medication.
  • 30%: Makes it difficult to operate socially and at work; occasionally inefficient with work or unable to execute specific tasks but typically capable of caring for oneself and communicating normally.
  • 50%: Some impairment affects their ability to function socially and at work. Some symptoms (for example, rage outbursts, impulsiveness, and poor decision-making) have an impact on one’s reliability and productivity.
  • 70%: Having difficulties functioning in most social and work settings, exhibiting symptoms such as sadness, suicidal tendencies, excessive mood swings, and inability to care for oneself.
  • 100%: The veteran experience an extreme form of bipolar disorder that necessitates the need for hospitalization. A person with a 100% disability rating is considered completely incapacitated and unable to function for work.

Maximizing your disability rating is important if you want to get more benefits. Remember that the VA will base their ratings on the documents you presented, your VA claim exam results, and additional information from other sources. If you are unsure how to maximize your rating, consider hiring our South Portland Veteran Disability Lawyer to assess how they can maximize your rating. Their years of expertise have equipped them with the necessary skills that are useful in your disability claim case.

TDIU for Veteran’s Bipolar Disorder

Veterans unable to work due to a mental health condition may be eligible for the same benefits as someone with a 100 percent disability rating. This is known as TDIU, or total disability based on individual unemployability, which provides a monthly compensation.

Call our Maine Bipolar Disorder Disability Claim Lawyers Now!

Whatever your situation and medical condition, we are here to provide you with quality legal advice and assistance. We have strongly advocated for VA benefits applicants suffering from different mental illnesses (e.g., anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder) to get the help they deserve.

Start securing your future by scheduling a free consultation with us now!

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