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Tips for Managing Bipolar Disorder at Work


How the Law Protects Those With Bipolar Disorder at Work

If you think you are being treated unfairly at work due to your bipolar disorder, know that you can seek help. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people from discrimination, whether their disability is physical or mental. However, the law does not contain a list of medical conditions that make up disabilities. Instead, it has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. Therefore, you may or may not have a disability under the ADA. Disability is defined as impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a past record of these limitations, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

These laws are complex. Before taking any legal action, it is important to get professional advice. You can call the U.S. Department of Justice ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or go to


If You Need to Take Time Off Work Due to Bipolar Disorder

If you need time off because of your bipolar disorder, in most cases, you have more than one option besides vacation and sick leave. See if your employer offers short- or long-term disability insurance, which allows you to receive a certain percentage of your salary. Your company’s Human Resources department can help.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a year. For more information, call 1-866-487-9243 or visit the U.S. Department of Labor web site.

You can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if you can’t work due to a mental or physical disability. Call 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security web site.



WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Raya Almufti Abraham, MD on February 25, 2010
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