Can Individuals with Schizophrenia Qualify for SSD?
When people think about disability benefits, they tend to think about diagnoses that cause physical limitations. However, mental health issues can just as easily derail your career and leave you unable to work. Schizophrenia, which presents in a variety of ways for different people, has a profoundly negative impact on many people’s careers.
If you’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia and can no longer work, you may qualify for SSDI benefits. To learn more about the SSA’s requirements, and to talk more about your application, call Quin Baker, SSD Lawyer at 850-433-0888.
Schizophrenia Can Affect Your Ability to Work
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder. It’s not as common as mood disorders like generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder, affecting less than 1% of American adults. People with schizophrenia often suffer from disorganized speech and thought, hallucinations, delusions, and lack of motivation.
It’s clear how disorganized speech, difficulty thinking clearly, and hallucinations could affect you at work. While medication can help individuals limit or even eliminate these symptoms, it is often a trial-and-error approach that requires the individual to suffer through symptoms for weeks or months while testing different medications. Even then, some people simply do not respond to medication or always present symptoms at some level.
While some employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for those with schizophrenia and other disabilities, they are not required to do so if it creates unreasonable hardships for the business.
SSDI may be a viable option for people with severe schizophrenia, with extensive medical documentation of their condition, and a work history that provides the required work credits for SSDI benefits.
The Listing of Impairments
Schizophrenia is listed in the SSA Listing of Impairments, more commonly known as the Blue Book. Heading 12.03 deals with schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. You must have one of the following qualifications:
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Disorganized thinking and speech
- Catatonia or grossly disorganized behavior
You must also meet the qualifications of one of the following two lists. On the first list, you must have an extreme limitation of one of these areas or a marked limitation of two of these areas:
- Ability to remember, understand, and apply information
- Interact with other people
- Ability to concentrate, persist in a task, or maintain pace
- Adapt and manage one’s behavior and person
If you do not qualify via that list and qualify via the following list, your condition must be serious and persistent. This means that it must have been diagnosed for at least two years and you must have evidence of both:
- Medical treatment, therapy, psychosocial support, or a very structured setting that manages the condition
- Minimal adjustment or ability to adapt to changes in life
Proving the Extent of Your Impairment
If you meet the qualifications in the Blue Book, you can receive SSDI benefits. However, there is obviously some wiggle room in the listings. What is an extreme limitation in remembering, understanding, and applying information?
What you consider an extreme limitation may only be considered a marked limitation by the SSA employee who looks at your file. As a result, you want to go above and beyond when it comes to providing evidence for your schizophrenia diagnosis.
This is where a disability attorney can be extremely helpful. The team at Quin Baker, SSD Lawyer understands the in-depth evidence that the SSA looks for when making their decisions, and our goal is to streamline the application process for you and help you provide the right documentation the first time.
Unfortunately, proving a mental health diagnosis is debilitating enough to prevent you from working can be an uphill battle. When providing documentation and records, focus heavily on evidence of symptoms that make it impossible for you to work or maintain consistent employment. This may involve getting documentation and records from a range of care providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists.
Reach Out to Quin Baker, SSD Lawyer for the Support You Need
Schizophrenia is a lifelong condition that is likely to change your life forever. We’re here to help you pursue the SSDI benefits you have paid into throughout the course of your career. To find out how we can help you—just call us at 850-433-0888 or reach out online to set up a time to meet with our team of SSDI attorneys.
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