Schizophrenia is a chronic and disabling brain disorder that can affect how a person thinks, acts and feels. The list of criteria for meeting schizophrenia may seem rather broad, making it easy to meet the requirements for Social Security Disability. However, this not necessarily true. Schizophrenia is a complex mental impairment that can be left open to individual interpretation. It can also be difficult for medical records to show exactly how an individual’s condition prevents them from working, which is essential in order to receive benefits. To qualify for disability benefits an individual must be able to demonstrate that he/she satisfies the requirements in both A and B are satisfied, or in C.
- Medically documented persistence, either continuous or intermittent, of one or more of the following:
- Delusions or hallucinations; or
- Catatonic or other grossly disorganized behavior; or
- Incoherence, loosening of associations, illogical thinking, or poverty of content of speech if associated with one of the following:
- Blunt affect; or
- Flat affect; or
- Inappropriate affect;
- Emotional withdrawal and/or isolation;
- Resulting in at least two of the following:
- Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or
- Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or
- Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or
- Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration;
- 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, and one of the following:
- Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration; or
- A residual disease process that has resulted in such marginal adjustment that even a minimal increase in mental demands or change in the environment would be predicted to cause the individual to decompensate; or
- Current history of 1 or more years’ inability to function outside a highly supportive living arrangement, with an indication of continued need for such an arrangement.
It is possible that someone may suffer from schizophrenia but not be completely disconnected from reality. However, that individual may still find themselves unable to perform even unskilled work. In this case, someone who has schizophrenia but is unable to meet the above criteria of Social Security’s listing for schizophrenia may still receive benefits on a basis of “medical vocational allowance.” This allows someone who does not meet the requirements to receive benefits if they can prove that their symptoms are severe and are expected to last more than 12 months resulting in an inability to hold a job position of any sort. Because of the complex nature of schizophrenia cases for Social Security Disability, it often takes a qualified and experienced representative. Disability Advocates Group will help you gather necessary medical records and doctor’s opinions that will facilitate the process and help you win your case!