Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with schizophrenia? If you have, you are aware that schizophrenia is a serious condition that results in hallucinations, paranoia, speech difficulties, and disordered thought processes.

Numerous antipsychotic medications are successful in the treatment of schizophrenia, but they often have serious adverse effects. Certain people may not respond to the drugs well enough and continue to have symptoms.

Whether your medications are ineffective or your prescriptions keep you from working, it’s important to consider that you may qualify for Social Security disability for schizophrenia.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder in which the diagnosed person’s mental and emotional processes break down, making it impossible to distinguish reality from delusions. The condition often progresses slowly, taking months or even years to manifest into disabling symptoms. People with schizophrenia sometimes struggle to behave appropriately in social contexts and may also struggle with self-care.

The cause of schizophrenia is unknown. It often manifests itself throughout adolescence but may also manifest during childhood or adulthood. Genetics, environment, infection, or family dysfunction may all play a role in producing the condition. Schizophrenia is classified into four types:

  • Paranoid schizophrenia
  • Disorganized schizophrenia
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia
  • Catatonic schizophrenia

Residual schizophrenia is a term referring to a condition in which a person has a good handle on most of their symptoms but even so exhibits residual symptoms.

Getting Disability For Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is considered a disability if you fulfill the criteria set out by the Social Security Administration in Listing 12.03, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, of the Listing of Impairments.

Schizophrenia is often diagnosed by psychiatrists and is typically determined using verbal interviews with both the patient and any close family members. The psychiatrist will assess the symptoms mentioned, the person’s behavior since the symptoms were first detected, the person’s medical and family history, as well as the person’s reaction to the medicine given to treat the symptoms.

Although no medical tests may be used to diagnose schizophrenia, a diagnosing psychiatrist may conduct a CT scan to rule out other physical illnesses that may produce comparable symptoms.

Schizophrenia manifests itself in a number of ways. Due to the slower progression of schizophrenia, symptoms may initially be very minor or mirror common conditions such as stress, sleeplessness, or difficulty focusing. 

The condition’s symptoms, such as social disengagement or trouble establishing and retaining friends, are sometimes misdiagnosed as shyness or social ineptness. However, as the illness advances, psychotic symptoms often manifest. These include hallucinations, delusions, flat affect (the appearance of no feeling), catatonic behaviors (social withdrawal), and distorted thinking.

Filing For Disability For Schizophrenia

Under Section 12.03 Schizophrenia, Paranoid, and Other Psychotic Disorders, the Social Security Administration (SSA) covers applications for disability benefits based on a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

To qualify for disability for schizophrenia, a person must establish the following: 

  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Conduct that is disorganized or catatonic
  • A pattern of irrational or incomprehensible thought 
  • Isolation and disengagement from a social connection on an emotional level

Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate, through medical documentation, that your symptoms significantly impair your ability to perform routine tasks and to obtain and retain gainful work. Suppose your symptoms are not severe enough to need full-time care but are severe enough to prevent you from working. In that case, the SSA specifies a second set of criteria for eligibility for disability for schizophrenia.

While medical records often include symptoms and accompanying limitations, they frequently do not detail how a condition prohibits you from working and may not be adequate to establish disability under SSA guidelines. Due to the complexity of schizophrenia and the difficulty of establishing your inability to maintain gainful employment solely through medical records, it is frequently highly recommended that claimants hire a Social Security Disability attorney to assist them in establishing and presenting their case.

Hire An Experienced Disability Attorney

Applicants with significant mental conditions such as schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders should consider hiring a skilled disability attorney. Not only is schizophrenia a severe illness, but individuals who suffer from this disorder have significant disadvantages when it comes to self-representation, especially given the constraints placed on focus, memory, and logical reasoning.

A disability lawyer may assist the applicant in obtaining relevant medical documents and managing the hearing procedure.

Contact The Law Offices Of Karen Kraus Bill to help you throughout the application process or if you have been denied and want help with your appeal.

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