The Social Security Disability
Experts Since 1984

SSDI for Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders

Mental Disorders That Qualify for SSDI on The Schizophrenia Spectrum & Other Psychotic Disorders

Physical disorders and their related disabilities can qualify individuals for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but debilitating mental disorders can also qualify people for SSDI if the disorder prevents an individual from working and taking part in SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity).

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, an individual must file a claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and prove their disorder inhibits their ability to provide for themselves financially. With mental disorders, filing a claim can be more difficult than filing under a physical disorder.

When someone files a claim, the SSA uses the Blue Book to assess that claim and determine if the individual does in fact qualify for benefits. The Blue Book lists qualifying disabilities and their resulting side effects into categories. Section 12.00 categorizes qualifying mental disorders, which includes sub-section 12.03 which is dedicated to schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.

Disabilities that fall on the schizophrenia spectrum, and other psychotic disorders, can be and often are debilitating. Not only do they impact the person diagnosed with the disorder, they can affect family members and loved ones who are close to the individual, as well.

According to the Blue Book, disorders on the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders are “characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, or grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, causing a clinically significant decline in functioning.”

Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, mood disturbances, odd beliefs and mannerisms, paranoia, an inability to initiate and persist in goal-directed activities, social withdrawal, poverty of thought and speech, and loss of interest or ability to find pleasure in things.

Some disorders evaluated under this category include the following:

  • Delusional Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Psychotic Disorder (due to another medical condition)

Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder – Definition

Schizophrenia spectrum disorders are defined by various symptoms. Individuals suffering from these types of disorders lose touch with reality and can experience extreme symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, grossly disorganized or abnormal behavior (including catatonia), disorganized thinking, etc.

How to File

With all disability claims, medical evidence is required to support the claim and prove that the individual affected cannot work and earn a living wage. With mental disorders, the medical evidence required is different from most physical disorders.

For schizophrenia spectrum disorders and other psychotic disorders, claimants must provide medical documentation of one or more of the following:

  • Delusions and/or Hallucinations
  • Disorganized Thinking (speech)
  • Grossly Disorganized Behavior
  • Catatonia

Claimants filing under this category must also show evidence of an extreme limitation of one, or a marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning:

  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • Interacting with others
  • Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
  • Adapting or managing oneself

A claimant may also provide evidence that their mental disorder can be documented as “serious and persistent.” This means the mental disorder has been medically documented for over two years, and there is evidence of both medical treatment/mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured, ongoing setting(s) that diminishes the symptoms and signs of the mental disorder; and evidence the claimant has minimal capacity to adapt to changes in their environment or new demands.

Peña & Bromberg – SSDI Attorneys You Can Depend On

If you or a loved one is struggling with a serious mental disorder, contact the legal team at Peña & Bromberg today. Our lawyers are here to help you file a claim with the SSA appropriately to ensure you get the best chances at being approved for SSDI or SSI. Contact us today to request a free consultation.

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