Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Schizophrenia?
December 4, 2017
Schizophrenia is a form of mental illness that affects all aspects of the personality. The way a person thinks feels and acts will all be affected if they have Schizophrenia. In some cases, these symptoms can be managed with medication. In other cases, the symptoms a person experiences may prevent them from being able to work and to keep a job which may qualify them for Social Security Disability benefits.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes Schizophrenia as a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. The NIMH also says that while it is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
The NIMH puts the symptoms of Schizophrenia into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.
This suffering from the “positive” symptoms may seem to have lost touch with some aspects of reality including:
- Thought disorders (unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking)
- Movement disorders (agitated body movements)
“Negative symptoms can disrupt normal emotions and behaviors and may include:
- “Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
- Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
- Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
- Reduced speaking
Cognitive symptoms may affect thinking and memory and may include:
- Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
- Trouble focusing or paying attention
- Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use the information immediately after learning it)
Qualifying for Social Security Disability with Schizophrenia
As with any other physical or mental health disorder, you will be required to provide evidence of a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, that you have had for at least a month and because of it, you will be unable to work for 12 months or longer. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a listing in their “Blue Book” of impairments. Your diagnosis must meet the SSA’s requirements for 12.03, Schizophrenia to be approved to receive benefits.
There are many factors that will contribute to whether you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with Social Security Disability including how severe the symptoms are, how well the medications are treating the symptoms, and allowing you to function in a work environment, your age, level of education and the type of work you have done in the past. Having strong medical evidence of the severity of your symptoms and the various treatment options attempted is a vital aspect of your application for SSDI or SSI benefits.
Working with an experienced Philadelphia Disability attorney can help ensure that your claim for disability benefits is compelling and accurate.
At Larry Pitt & Associates, our Philadelphia Social Security Disability Lawyers are here to serve disabled applicants through each phase of their application process. To speak with an experienced caring attorney, please contact us at 888.PITT.LAW or complete our contact form. We are proud to represent clients throughout Philadelphia and the suburban counties of Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.