Diagnosis papers for schizophrenia.

Can I Receive SSD Benefits for Schizophrenia?

When you develop a debilitating condition or you break your back and are unable to work, you can apply for and receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. But not every disability can be seen. Sometimes disabilities, such as schizophrenia, are “invisible.” So what happens if you have schizophrenia; can you receive SSD benefits?

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a psychotic mental disorder that can often make it difficult to think logically, tell the difference between hallucinations and delusions and reality, control your behavior, and interact with others in an ordinary manner. 

It’s important to note that the symptoms of schizophrenia can greatly differ from person to person. Some people respond well to medication, but some don’t.  Therefore while some people with the disorder are able to work normally or perform some type of work, others are not. Therefore while individuals with schizophrenia may be eligible for SSD benefits, they are not guaranteed. 

Schizophrenia is not the only psychotic disorder that is commonly eligible for SSD benefits. Others disorders include:

  • Delusional disorder
  • Psychotic disorder 
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Schizophreniform disorder
  • Schizotypal disorder
  • Substance- or medication-induced psychotic disorder

Impacts Your Ability to Work

Although individuals with schizophrenia are commonly eligible to receive SSD benefits, the diagnosis is not as important as the applicant’s functional limitations. This is in part due to the fact that the only way to diagnose schizophrenia is through evaluation; there is no blood test that currently exists. 

You must not only prove that you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but also that it has had an impact on your ability to work despite following the doctor’s instructions and pursuing measures to help remedy the symptoms, such as antipsychotic medication. 

How Can You Qualify?

Under 12.03 of the Social Security’s listing of impairments, for an individual to receive SSD benefits for schizophrenia, he or she must be able to demonstrate that he or she either constantly or intermittently suffers from one of the following:

  • Delusions or hallucinations;
  • Disorganized thinking; or
  • Grossly disorganized behavior/catatonia.

Although the above may seem very broad and easy to meet, that’s not always the case. Medical records can prove that you do in fact have schizophrenia and that you are suffering from symptoms despite treatment, but they do not demonstrate how these things have prevented them from working, which is necessary to prove in order to receive SSD benefits. 

The PA SSD Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help

When you are struggling with schizophrenia that prevents you from working, you may not know what to do. Luckily, the attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP can help. We understand the impact that a disability can have on your ability to make ends meet. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!