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Schizophrenia and SSA Disability Benefits

Can I get SSDI or SSI for Schizophrenia?


According to the National Institute of Mental health, schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder which currently affects 1% of the United States population. Schizophrenia causes individuals to have brain disorders or cognitive insufficiency which often forces a break from reality.

The disorder can affect many areas of their lives and lower their ability to function socially, personally or in a work environment. There are also severe emotional, cognitive, intellectual and perception deficits which can cause the claimant to have delusions or to withdraw from others.

Some individuals with schizophrenia may hear voices while others simply believe that their mind is being controlled; others may believe that other people are planning to harm them (paranoia). Some individuals may seem normal but once engaged their conversations become bizarre. Most individuals who have schizophrenia are unable to maintain employment and the most severe cases are unable to care for themselves. Medication and professional intervention are generally needed to treat this condition.

Common Symptoms of Schizophrenia


Claimants who suffer from schizophrenia generally have biochemical disorders in their brain. The causes are unknown, although it is estimated that up to 60% of cases occur naturally and spontaneously.

Common symptoms of Schizophrenia disorder can include:



Winning disability benefits for Schizophrenia by meeting a listing on the Social Security Administration Listing of Impairments


The Social Security Administration maintains a list of all the impairments and their symptoms which they consider so severe that they are automatically disabling. The SSA does maintain a listing for Schizophrenia which is found under 12.00 Mental Health Disorders, Section 12.03 Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders.

If you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and you have proof that your condition is as severe as the listing, assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements for either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you will be approved for disability benefits.

To meet the listing and win disability benefits the Social Security Administration (SSA) will look for evidence of delusions, hallucinations, catatonic and grossly disorganized behavior, illogical thinking and speech which has a blunt, flat or inappropriate affect or emotional withdrawal and isolation.

Not only will you need to exhibit the symptoms above you also must be able to prove that these symptoms are so severe that you have are markedly restricted in two of the following: activities of daily living, social functioning, maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace or you have repeated episodes of decompensation.

Claimants who do not exhibit the signs and symptoms above may also be able to win benefits under the listing if they 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.”

Other claimants may win benefits if they can prove that have a history of one or more years of an inability to function outside of a supportive living arrangement and they have a continued need for this support.

Claimants who do not meet the listing outlined above should contact a disability lawyer to find out if the conditions and symptoms they have are severe enough to win disability benefits through a medical vocational allowance.
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