Getting disability has gotten harder recently with budget cuts, it is a long process. I was in the loop to get it, but found that it would be at least 2 years of lawyers and court dates to get it myself. People in our town with BP who are on disability told me it took about 2 years to finally get theirs. Ten years ago I know a guy who got his BP disability in 18 months, but those budgets are gone. The disability web page explains it all, you should start the process asap, and try to find other ways to survive in the mean time. I totally relate, I can't even get a job, I'm over qualified to work in a store, been turned down a lot. Then my BP makes higher paying jobs not available to me either, so I get the situation, let me know if you find an easy way, I'm still looking. Disability is automatically rejected, so don't be surprised, but that means you can hire a lawyer to represent you, which you can't do until you have been rejected. Good luck, we hit the food banks and do a lot of bartering.
I want to add that many lawyers will be eager to assist you in getting disability. However, do be sure to ask any lawyer you call if they have ever worked for Social Security. The lawyers that say yes are well versed in the process and your outcome with one has a better chance of being approved. Also, if you are approved, Social Security used to pay your lawyer. Be sure of what the lawyers terms are. It used to be that Bipolar Disorder was considered a 'fatal disease' by Social Security b/c the then stats were 1 of 5 ppl afflicted w Bipolar fatally hurt themselves. There are many diseases and conditions that Social Security used to approve for disability w/o a lawyer, including Bipolar. It may still be the case. I think, based on your credits, that you would be best off w a Social Security lawyer.though. My heart goes out to you b/c it is a very difficult diagnosis to have and the process of finding the meds that work can be tedious. You also have children that rely on you and I do pray for your success. Please, if they get on your nerves it is easier to go to your room until you calm down. I know you didn't ask that part but I speak from experience. Best to you and your family.