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Psychotic Disorder and SSI or SSDI Benefits

Can I get SSI or SSDI with a Psychotic Disorder?

There are a variety of mental health disorders that the Social Security Administration will consider disabling.

Each of these mental health disorders are on the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book), which is the list of conditions and their corresponding sections that the SSA considers automatically disabling. This blog will specifically address Listing 12.03 Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders.

Meeting a listing for a Psychotic Disorder

Many claimants are diagnosed with a mental health disorder than they are confused when they are denied SSDI or SSI benefits. Keep in mind, to meet a listing and to be approved for SSI and SSDI your condition not only has to be listed, you also have to have symptoms or limitations which are as severe as the ones listed in the Blue Book.

So what is the SSA looking for? If you have been diagnosed with psychotic disorder the SSA is looking for symptoms which evidence that your health condition has caused a “deterioration from a previous level of functioning.”

The SSA will specifically be looking for:

  1. Delusions or hallucinations; or

  2. Catatonic or other grossly disorganized behavior; or

  3. Incoherence, loosening of associations, illogical thinking, or poverty of content of speech which can include blunt affect, flat affect or inappropriate affect.


  1. Emotional withdrawal and/or isolation

You must not only exhibit these symptoms but the symptoms must also cause a marked restriction of your activities of daily living, your ability to maintain your social functioning or your ability to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace.  The SSA would also expect to see evidence of extended episodes of decompensation.

If you do not have evidence of the above, the SSA expects that you have  “medically documented history of a chronic schizophrenic, paranoid, or other psychotic disorder of at least 2 years' duration that has caused more than a minimal limitation of ability to do basic work activities, with symptoms or signs currently attenuated by medication or psychosocial support.”

They also expect that you have had one of the following: repeated episodes of decompensation, evidence that a change in your environment or mental demands would cause decompensation or history that you have not been able to function outside of a supportive living arrangement for at least one year.

Winning Disability benefits for Psychotic Disorder through a medical vocational allowance

Claimants who do not have evidence that their condition is severe enough to equal or meet the listing above may still be able to win SSI or SSDI benefits for psychotic disorder if they can prove that they do not have the residual capacity to work. This process is called a medical vocational allowance. If your condition does not meet a listing it might be a good idea to talk to a disability lawyer.

Disability lawyers can review your condition and evaluate your medical evidence to determine if it is sufficient to prove you cannot work and may be eligible for SSI or SSDI.
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