Disability News


Can Bipolar Disorder Affect your Ability to Work?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that can cause drastic changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. It’s estimated that roughly 1% of Canadians live with bipolar disorder. Recovery from the condition is a possibility but rarely is a reality for many individuals with bipolar disorder. Living with bipolar disorder makes it extremely challenging for individuals in these situations to adjust and learn to live with the condition. 

Although the possibility of recovery is a reason for some optimism, the reality is that bipolar disorder is an extremely challenging mental disorder that is likely to be the reason for long-term disability and cause someone to be unable to stay at their job. If you have lost work because of bipolar disorder disability and have been denied disability benefits, speak with Camporese Lalande Disability Lawyers today. Our experience bipolar disorder lawyers are ready to help you move your case forward towards getting you the disability benefits you deserve.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is categorized as a mood disorder, which are disabilities that affect a person’s ability to fully control their emotions and feelings. 

People with bipolar disorder will rotate between two emotional states, a sad “depressive” state of low energy and a “manic” state that is defined by an unnaturally high level of energy. The manic and depressive states of bipolar are extreme opposites in nature, and this can make it extremely challenging for even medical professionals to accurately diagnose this mental condition from the get-go. 

For the general public, it’s the symptoms of the manic state that are stereotypical of bipolar disorder

When a person with bipolar disorder is in a manic state, they will have an unnaturally high level of energy. It can be hard to communicate with someone in a manic state since they will often speak at a fast pace. People in a manic state will generally express an unnatural level of optimism and excitement, but that can also change quickly to anger or frustration. Other signs and symptoms that people with bipolar disorder show during their manic state are similar in nature:

  • restless and impulsive
  • unable to focus / easily distracted
  • demonstrate poor judgment
  • elevated libido (sex drive)
  • less appetite
  • less tired

During the manic state, people with bipolar disorder can develop extremely high levels of self-confidence as a result of the disorder, which can lead them to make extremely outlandish and ambitious plans. Substance abuse is also often seen in cases of people with bipolar disorder during their manic state. 

What goes up, must come down: the depressive state of bipolar disorder is very similar to someone dealing with depression.

A person with bipolar disorder can react very differently during a depressive episode. Many of the symptoms shown during this phase can include many different symptoms that people with depression also display:

  • experiencing sadness
  • having consistently low levels of energy
  • having feelings of hopelessness
  • losing interest in previous hobbies and interests
  • lowered libido
  • difficulty making decisions 
  • thoughts of suicide and self-harm

People who live with bipolar disorder do not all look the same

Individuals can experience bipolar dipolar in very different ways. Generally speaking, patients can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder under one of three categories:

Bipolar I Disorder – characterized by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic episodes that are so severe that hospitalization is necessary. People with bipolar I disorder also experience depressive episodes lasting at least 2 weeks, although these episodes may be less severe than the manic episodes.

Bipolar I Disorder is a serious mental health condition that can affect work, career, and job prospects. Characterized by manic episodes that last at least 7 days and often require hospitalization, bipolar I disorder can take a heavy toll on an individual’s capacity to work. In addition, the depressive episodes common in those diagnosed with bipolar I disorder can impair work functioning further by making work performance more difficult or by causing a person to experience such feelings of apathy or lack of motivation that taking an extended period of leave from work is required. Unfortunately, job loss may be commonplace for those suffering from this disorder as work absences, difficulty managing emotions in the workplace, and overall performance struggles are common outcomes.

Bipolar II Disorder – similar to bipolar I disorder, but the person experiences hypomanic episodes (less severe mania) instead of full-blown manic episodes. Depressive episodes still occur, and can last for 2 weeks or longer.

Bipolar II Disorder is quite similar to Bipolar I, with the main difference being that a person will experience hypomanic episodes in lieu of full-blown manic episodes. This can affect the way a person works, as hypomania can affect one’s ability to stay focused on their tasks and goals. Additionally, bipolar II also encompasses severe depressive episodes that can last two weeks or more – at these times, it becomes difficult for an individual to maintain employment. In some cases of bipolar II, it could lead to a person struggling to manage their symptoms and being unable to complete the substantial duties of their own employment – thus requiring long-term disability benefits to help support themselves or their family.

Cyclothymic Disorder (also called Cyclothymia) – is a milder form of bipolar disorder in which people experience both hypomanic and depressive symptoms, but the symptoms don’t meet the criteria for either bipolar I or II disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder results in people experiencing shifting moods of both hypomania and depression. This can make work conditions very difficult for such individuals due to the emotional roller coaster that they are on, rendering them more vulnerable to problems with productivity, absenteeism, lower focus and increased conflicts with co-workers. The symptoms of this condition can vary from person to person but typically consist of frequent mood swings, which can level out after weeks or months and hypersensitivity to work related issues. As such, those afflicted by Cyclothymia may find difficulty working in a professional capacity as fluctuations in work attitude and behaviour may be noticed by colleagues.

Mixed Features Specifier – a specifier that can be added to any of the above diagnoses when a person is experiencing both manic and depressive symptoms at the same time (known as a mixed episode).

The use of the mixed features specifier can be incredibly beneficial for those experiencing symptoms of both mania and depression at the same time. This type of diagnosis, known as a mixed episode, can have a serious impact on someone’s life – symptoms often disrupt relationships with family and friends, difficulty maintaining jobs, and even sleeping problems. By using the mixed features specifier, physicians are able to accurately identify the symptoms in order to provide personalized treatment and improved quality of life for their patient.

Bipolar Disorder and Work Challenges

While many sufferers of bi-polar disorder can remain productive and successful in the workplace, other people with bipolar disorder often face significant challenges due to the illness. These challenges can include increased absenteeism, difficulty concentrating or completing tasks, impaired decision-making ability, and social withdrawal, poor judgment and impulse control, frequent mood swings and irritability, difficulty remembering things, and associated drug or alcohol abuse issues. All of these symptoms can make it difficult for people with bipolar disorder to succeed in the workplace and lead to higher rates of unemployment than those without the illness.

There are several factors that can influence employment outcomes for people with bipolar disorder including medication adherence, duration of illness, severity of symptoms, and access to resources such as support systems or vocational rehabilitation services. Additionally, there are other aspects such as sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., age, gender) and environmental factors (e.g., socioeconomic status) that may also play a role in determining employment outcomes for people with bipolar disorder.

Medical studies over the years have shown that people who suffer from this complex psychiatric condition were more often incapacitated and were more likely to have attempted suicide and reported poorer quality of life – and of occupational functioning.  

Bipolar Disorder and Long-Term Disability Benefits

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that can have a profound impact on an individual’s ability to work productively and succeed professionally which leads to the often asked question – “Can I get disability benefits for bipolar disorder?” and the answer is maybe.

Long-term disability (LTD) benefits are monthly benefits to financially assistance individuals who are substantially unable to perform their own occupation due to a physical or mental impairment. In order to qualify for long-term disability benefits in Canada most policies state that the claimant must be unable complete the substantial duties of his or her employment. Therefore if you suffer from bipolar disorder, you may in fact qualify for long-term disability if your symptoms prevent you from completing the substantial duties of your own job.

People with Bipolar Disorder are often Wrongfully Denied Long-Term Disability

There is a significant percentage of the Canadian population that deal with mental health disabilities as part of their everyday life, and among those, bipolar disorder is one of the most intrusive disorders. For some people, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be difficult to manage and in fact, prevent them carry out day-to-day responsibilities, especially in the workplace. Long-term disability benefits is “piece of mind” insurance which is relies on to provide coverage in the instance of serious illness or injury, allowing you and your family and your financial obligations will be taken care of if something happens.

Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Insurance adjusters routinely deny long-term disability benefits, even when claimants are clearly eligible for them, such as:

They override your doctors and decide that you are not “totally disabled” – disability insurance adjusters may simply decide that the you are not actually totally disabled pursuant to the provisions of the long-term disability insurance policy. The insurer will scrutinize both objective and subjective measures of disability to determine if the claimant has sufficient proof that their condition meets the insured contract’s definition of “total disability” – whether being the insured’s “own occupation” or “any occupation”.

Social Media Investigation – disability insurance adjusters are known to deny long-term disability benefits in some cases, and one major factor is their investigation of your social media activity. For instance, the insurer may look at your Instagram or other social media profiles to determine if there’s photo or video evidence that conflicts with your claims of being disabled. If they see photos or descriptions that seem to indicate you’re not as incapacitated as you claim, they might simply cut-off your benefits – regardless of medical proof – so it’s essential to be aware of the potential impact your online presence can have on the outcome of an insurance claim.outcome of an insurance claim.

They will cut-off your benefits at the two year mark – this juncture is important. It is at the two year mark that most long-term disability benefit policies change from “own occupation” to “any occupation”. Unfortunately many disability claims adjusters often cut-off disability benefits after two years and tell claimants that they “can do something” when this is not always the case.

The insurer may deny the claim based on insufficient medical evidence – which unfortunately further complicates the process and often leaves claimants feeling unjustly rejected. Denials involve the review of extensive medical documents and other objective information provided by the claimant’s doctors to support a diagnosis of a disabling condition. As such, insufficient evidence is a common reason why long-term disability claims are not approved.

If any of the above pertain to you – it’s vital that you call our disability lawyers today to talk about your situation. Call us nationwide at 1-844-4-DISABILITY or send our disability lawyers an email through our website and we will get right back to you.

Suffer from Bipolar Disorder and Wrongfully Denied Long-Term Disability Benefits?

If you’ve been denied long-term disability benefits, speak to our bipolar disorder disability lawyers. Camporese Lalande Disability Lawyers represent clients with bipolar disorder who have been denied their long-term disability benefits. If you have any questions, contact us today for a free consultation.

With our Disability Lawyers our consultations are free and you NEVER pay anything up front – no matter what the circumstance. The fee is always free – you only pay if we win your case.

Our long-term disability lawyers are able to provide claimants with bipolar disorder with the tools they need to make informed decisions and take action. Our team of legal experts is knowledgeable in the area of bipolar disability claims, and is dedicated to helping claimant receive the support they need.  Contact us today to learn more about how our experienced bipolar disability lawyers can help you today. We’re here to help you receive the resources and treatment you need for long-term recovery. 

Since 2003, Ontario Disability Lawyers Matt Lalande and Karen Camporese have recovered tens of millions in compensation for disability claimants who are were going to the worst times of their lives. Stop struggling with a faceless insurance company – and call our Ontario long-term disability lawyers to get your free consultation today.

We can help represent disability claimants all over Ontario can help you get the compensation deserve you you. Our consultations are 100% free – and if you decide to work with our disability lawyers, the fee is free. We do not charge our clients anything unless we win their case. We are happy to provide you the legal advice you need in order for you to make an informed decision about your own particular situation. Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-4-DISABILITY. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website – and we would be happy to explain your long-term disability rights and legal options to you, at no cost.

Article FAQ

Can bipolar disorder prevent a person from working?

Bipolar disorder can prevent a person from working when the symptoms of the condition are unmanaged or overwhelming. This can include episodes of severe depression or mania that interfere with the person’s ability to maintain concentration, manage emotions and meet job expectations.

Can bipolar disorder qualify for long-term disability benefits?

Yes, a person with bipolar disorder may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. To qualify for such benefits, an individual must demonstrate that their impairment meets the definition of total disability as defined by their long-term disability policy.

How do I hire a long-term disability lawyer near me?

The best way to hire a long-term disability lawyer near you is to do research online and find an experienced lawyer who specializes in this type of law. You should look for reviews and ratings, as well as contact your local bar association or local court system to ensure that the lawyer is licensed and qualified to handle your case. Additionally, it’s important to discuss the cost of legal services and any potential payment plans that may be available. Once you have found a disability lawyer who suits your needs, you should schedule an initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. During this meeting, make sure that your questions are answered and that you feel comfortable with the lawyer’s approach to handling your disability case.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder can cause a wide range of symptoms, which can vary in severity. Some of the most common symptoms include mood swings between episodes of depression and mania, changes in energy levels, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, sleep disturbances (insomnia or sleeping too much), reckless behavior (including substance abuse or risky sexual behaviors), changes in appetite, and irritability. In severe cases, psychosis (hallucinations or delusions) can occur. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to significant impairments in functioning and quality of life – and work – and eventually lead to long-term disability benefits.

Do disability lawyers work for free?

Our disability lawyers charge a contingency fee. Contingency fees are an agreement between a lawyer and their client, in which the lawyer agrees to only get paid if they win or settle the lawsuit. This means that the lawyer will take on all financial risks of the case in exchange for a portion of any settlement or judgment.

How can a disability lawyer help me?

A disability lawyer can help you navigate the complex process of appealing a denial of Long-Term Disability benefits. They are usually litigation specialists who have specialized knowledge of the law, policies, procedures, and filing requirements related to disability claims.


Do I Have A Disability Case?


If you’ve been denied disability or your benefits have been terminated – fill in the form below.  We are more than happy to review your case and get right back to you.

      “Matt Lalande halped get my long-term disability benefits back. It was a longer fight than expected, but he managed to help make things right again. Would recommend A+++++ Thank you Matt.”

      Patricia Williamson

      Long-Term Disability

      “Matt Lalande helped me attain my long-term disability benefits. The denial of benefits caused me substantial stress on top of my existing condition. Matt Lalande and his team were very understanding and explained the whole process clearly. They were confident that we would be successful. Dealing ...

      Cheryl Oddie

      Long-Term Disability

      My experience with Mr. Matt Lalande and his team was exceptional. Matt is a very impressive professional when involved in a long-term disability benefits denial. Matt and Heather responded to all my emails and phone calls in a prompt and efficient manner. Matt is a great and honest lawyer. I highly reco...

      Payne Momich

      Long-Term Disability

    view all testimonials

    Long-Term Disability


    view all case results