How to Get Disability Benefits For Schizophrenia?

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The disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) are available for a wide range of disabilities. In order to qualify for these benefits as a disabled person, you must meet the requirements set forth by SSA. Even when you do meet the requirements, you may still need the help of a Social Security lawyer to ensure that your application is successful.

This is simply because SSA has a very elaborate set of requirements for each disability. The more notable disabilities are listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments. The less common disabilities are not included on the list but you can still qualify for disability benefits if you can show that such a disability meets designated specifications.

Is Schizophrenia Included in Listing of Impairments?

Yes, the SSA’s Listing of Impairments includes Schizophrenia. This is significant because when a disability is included on the list, it is easier to qualify for benefits.

Schizophrenia is covered under Section 12.03 of the Listing of Impairments. This section is titled ‘Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.’ As per this section, you must meet two different kinds of requirements in order for your condition to qualify as a disability.

Eligibility Criteria

In the first step, SSA requires that your condition must be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Lack of organization in thinking, or speech
  • Catatonic behavior or behavior that exhibits disorganization

These symptoms must have been medically documented by a healthcare professional, such as a physician or a psychiatrist. You will need to provide medical proof that you suffer from these symptoms.

In the next step, you are required to prove that your disability, in this case, schizophrenia, severely limits your functional abilities, or that it has persisted for over two years.

To demonstrate functional limitations, you must be able to show that you suffer an extreme limitation in one of the following areas, or serious limitation in any two of the areas:

  • Ability to interact with other human beings
  • Ability to recollect, comprehend, or use information meaningfully
  • Ability to manage yourself or adapt yourself to various situations
  • Ability to concentrate or persist in doing a task

If you suffer from an extreme limitation in one of these areas or serious limitation in two of the areas, SSA will accept that your condition has a limiting effect on your functional abilities.

However, even if you don’t suffer clear limitations in any of the areas listed above, you can still qualify for disability benefits as a schizophrenia patient. This is possible when:

  • You have been suffering from schizophrenia and its associated symptoms for a period of at least two years. You will need evidence of medical history to substantiate this.
  • You need ongoing medical treatment and support in order to manage the symptoms of your conditions. Such treatment may include mental health therapy, the need for a structured and supportive setting on an everyday basis, and psychological support by professionals or counselors.
  • You are unable to adapt to any notable changes in your daily environment, and such changes adversely affect the symptoms of your condition.

Qualifying with Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)

It is possible that you suffer from schizophrenia but your medical evidence does not meet the requirements listed in Listing 12.03. In such a case, you can still qualify by meeting SSA’s Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) requirements.

To meet RFC requirements, you must be able to show that you can’t perform basic activities that are an essential part of everyday work. This includes demonstrating an inability to concentrate on basic tasks, inability to interact meaningfully with any coworkers, and a lack of mental coherence that is needed to perform various tasks. If you meet these requirements, SSA may find that you are indeed disabled and approve your application for disability benefits.

Why Hire a Greenville Social Security Disability Lawyer?

If you are based in Greenville and want to apply for disability benefits, it is important to consult a qualified lawyer. A good lawyer can help you find out if you meet the requirements set forth in SSA’s Listing of Impairments. If you don’t meet the requirements, the lawyer will guide you on how to qualify through RFC and other options.

Here at the Robert Surface Law Firm, we help Greenville residents seek disability benefits. Our lawyers strive to help you get these benefits at the earliest. To this end, we work with you to ensure that you file a complete application with no errors or mistakes. Call us today to discuss your disability benefits claim with our lawyers.