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Does SSA Qualify Schizophrenia as a Disability?

People struggling with schizophrenia may find themselves unable to cope in a full-time job due to the disabling effects of the condition. Those in this situation might be eligible for Social Security disability, which includes both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). With proper medication and assistance from a psychiatrist or therapist, individuals with schizophrenia can often live a full and rewarding life.

When it comes to obtaining Social Security disability benefits, it’s important to understand the criteria used in determining eligibility. Generally speaking, applicants must prove that their condition meets the requirements listed under the “Listing of Impairments” for mental illness published by the Social Security Administration. The symptoms and treatment history must be documented in order to qualify for the disability benefits.

How Do I Get Approved for Benefits with Schizophrenia?

Individuals with schizophrenia can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits by meeting the requirements of a disability listing or proving they’re unable to perform any job. To meet the disability listing for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, individuals must have evidence in their medical records of delusions or hallucinations, illogical thinking, or grossly disorganized behavior, as well as severe or extreme limitations in adapting/managing oneself, interacting with others, concentrating on tasks and learning/understanding/remembering information.

Those who are unable to meet the listing may still qualify if they can demonstrate their schizophrenia has been serious and persistent over a period of at least two years and is well-managed under ongoing medical treatment. Alternatively, those with more moderate limitations may be able to prove they are unable to work due to their symptoms such as anxiety leading to social withdrawal, emotional outbursts, memory problems or distractions affecting task completion, paranoia and delusions causing odd behavior towards the public. Social Security will take into account all mental and physical limitations along with age, education level and work history when making a determination on eligibility for SSDI/SSI benefits.