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Schizophrenia and Social Security disability benefits

Many Houston residents' lives are impacted by schizophrenia. It can be a severely disabling condition. If a person with schizophrenia finds that the condition is making it impossible for them to work, they may be eligible to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. There are a number of medical criteria that a claimant must meet before they may qualify for Social Security disability benefits for schizophrenia. This blog post will provide a brief summary of these.

In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, a claimant must have medical documentation of delusions or hallucinations, disorganized thinking or speech, or grossly disorganized behavior or catatonia.

In addition, claimants must meet at least one of two possible additional criteria in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions. One of these additional criteria is extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two listed areas of mental functioning. These listed areas are the ability to understand, remember or apply information; the ability to interact with others; the ability to concentrate, persist or maintain pace; and the ability to adapt or manage oneself.

The other additional criteria is that the claimant's schizophrenia is serious and persistent, meaning that the claimant has a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least two years. Further, there must be evidence of two additional factors. These factors are, one, medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support, or a highly structured setting that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of the claimant's mental disorder; and, two, marginal adjustment, that is, the claimant has minimal capacity to adapt to changes in their environment or to demands that are not already part of their daily life.

There are many additional requirements for a claimant to have a successful Social Security disability claim, and many claimants' initial applications are rejected. Many claimants are successful in the appeals process, however, especially if the claimant has the advice of an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

Source: Social Security Administration, "12.03 Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders," accessed on Jan. 15, 2018

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