I have come to the conclusion that I must not have adequately explained why life insurance underwriters can’t overcome the issue of being disabled due to bipolar disorder. It is simply a show stopper.

Being on disability is to some degree a stumbling block no matter what the reason for the disability. It is seen as a financial justification issue in most cases. From an insurance company standpoint they are looking at the income loss that would occur if a person, especially on social security disability, were to pass away. The truth is that their is a social security survivor benefit that would go to the spouse upon the disabled person’s death, so if there is any income loss, it is minimal.

With bipolar it all hinges on the issue of social stability. From past posts I have really beat to death that stability is a huge factor in life insurance underwriting of bipolar. A stable family life. The ability to hold a job. These are the types of things that separate well controlled bipolar from, well, not so well controlled bipolar.

Being on disability due to bipolar shoots a big hole in the stability and control issue from an underwriting standpoint. If you can’t function well enough to hold a job, it just doesn’t work for life insurance companies. It may not seem fair, but if you’re really honest with yourself, it does make some sense.

Having said that, given the criteria I’ve quoted so often, we have been very successful in helping everyone from CEO’s to single moms get affordable life insurance with well controlled bipolar. Again, the criteria:

1. No hospitalization within the last 10 years for bipolar, other than for diagnosis
2. No suicide attempts or ideations
3. Compliant with all medical and psychological treatment
4. Must have a stable family life
5. Must have a stable work life (and no, being laid off in a recession wouldn’t count against you)
6. You can’t be on disability for bipolar
7. You can’t also have collateral issues with alcohol or drug abuse.

Bottom line. Underwriters have to draw lines in the sand somewhere with each and every impairment they address. They aren’t going to approve someone treated for cholesterol if it is still out of control. They aren’t going to approve with sleep apnea if a sleep study shows that treatment isn’t working. If treatment is working, almost no matter what the issue is, insurance is attainable.