Disability for Schizophrenia

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How to Determine Disability for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia refers to a serious mental illness that is considered to be a chronic condition. Due to this disorder, a person’s abilities may be limited and it may prevent them from being able to think, make decisions, control their emotions, or relate with other people. 

People suffering from schizophrenia disability may lose touch with reality. However, schizophrenia is not a very common disorder and its symptoms can be unbearable for some people.

Some of the symptoms of schizophrenia may include:

  • Hallucinations, which occur when a person hears voices, smells odors, or sees things that others cannot see. The phenomenon is real for those who experience it, although it might be confusing for others who are not witnessing it. The voices heard in the hallucination phenomenon might be threatening and may involve people who are known or unknown to the person who is hearing them.
  • Emotional instability, which may manifest as decreased capabilities when under emotional stress or speaking in a dull and disconnected manner. People who are experiencing emotional instability may be unable to follow directions, face difficulty in sustaining relationships, or show little interest in life. Sometimes, people confuse emotional instability related to schizophrenia with clinical depression. 
  • Cognitive difficulties or disorganized thinking, which may manifest as struggling to remember things or an inability to complete tasks or organize thoughts. An individual who is suffering from schizophrenia may not be aware that they have a disability, which can make working an exceptionally challenging task.
  • Delusions, which are also known as false beliefs. Many people who suffer from delusions will also face problems relating to concentration or thinking.

Is Schizophrenia a Disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally does not list specific disabilities that it would encompass. However, the ADA does provide general definitions of disability, which would cover many different physical and mental conditions. A person is considered to be disabled when they suffer from a mental or a physical impairment that prevents them from performing their daily activities. People who are suffering from schizophrenia may have numerous types of limitations, including:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Inability to control their emotions or anger
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Inconsistent behavior
  • Functioning deficits while executing tasks
  • Decreased general cognition
  • Inability to manage time
  • Mental confusion
  • Inability to organize, plan, or prioritize
  • Stress intolerance
  • Inability to work independently

The degree of limitations that an individual might face relating to schizophrenia can differ from one person to another. Schizophrenia is a disability that is most commonly diagnosed in a person’s late teens to early 30s. Schizophrenia is an illness that is more frequently diagnosed in males than in females. In the United States, the incidence of schizophrenia among the population ranges from 0.25% to 0.64%. Schizophrenia is considered to be among the top 15 disabilities around the world. 

Can You Get Disability Benefits for Schizophrenia?

Disability for SchizophreniaA person may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for schizophrenia if they suffer from this disability and the illness has prevented them from working and earning a living for at least 12 months. There is an SSA Blue Book listing that explicitly lists schizophrenia as a covered disability and it requires that a person who has schizophrenia must have reduced functional capacity to receive benefits.

If a person meets all of the criteria mentioned in listing 12.03, then the SSA will approve that individual for disability benefits. Listing 12.03 includes schizophrenia disability, as well as other psychotic disorders, such as schizoaffective disorder, schizotypal disorder, substance-induced psychotic disorder, and schizophreniform disorder.

For a person to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits under this disability listing, then they must be able to provide medical evidence that proves that they are suffering from some of the following symptoms:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Illogical thoughts
  • Disorganized thinking
  • A catatonic state, featuring stiff muscles or unresponsiveness
  • Disorganized behavior

Does Schizophrenia Qualify for Disability?

If a person has an extreme limitation in one of the below-mentioned fields or a marked limitation in two of the following fields, then an individual who has schizophrenia will qualify for disability: 

  • Difficulty in understanding, using, or memorizing information
  • Inability to understand the instructions, learn new things, or apply knowledge to different tasks
  • Inability to communicate with others 
  • Inability to concentrate or complete tasks within time
  • Inability to adapt to change or manage oneself, such as tasks relating to personal hygiene, dressing skills, cooking skills, or cleaning skills

An applicant should be able to provide medical records, such as hospital records, documentation from their doctor stating their opinion of the applicant’s inability to do work, feedback from a psychologist or psychiatrist, any psychological tests reports, and any other available evidence to prove the disability. The evidence can also include statements given by friends and family that indicate that the applicant’s ability to work has been drastically affected by their condition.

Most applicants are initially denied benefits by the SSA, and the claims process can be both lengthy and complicated. This is why it can be so important to seek help from an experienced legal professional while seeking benefits. 

Having competent legal help on your side can both safeguard your rights and help you to gather medical evidence, prepare for the hearing process, navigate the process’s chaos and confusion, and provide you with the respect you deserve.

Disability lawyers in Florida can guide you throughout the application process until you receive the SSDI or SSI benefits you deserve. Do not get discouraged even if your application has been initially denied, as having a lawyer on your side can be helpful when you file an appeal. 


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