Can I Receive SSD Benefits for Schizophrenia?

Picture of a young woman sitting in a chair looking upset

Schizophrenia, a serious, psychotic mental disorder, can impact your life drastically as do so many visible illnesses. It can make it very difficult to control your behavior, distinguish delusions or hallucinations from reality, think logically, and even interact socially in a normal manner.

A Spectrum Disorder

However, schizophrenia is also known as a “spectrum” disorder in that its symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. While some individuals with schizophrenia respond well to medication, others do not. While some people with the disorder are able to perform some type of work, others are not.

Functional Limitations

While “invisible illnesses” are often eligible for SSD benefits, Social Security is still more interested in an applicant’s functional limitations due to the illness, rather than the diagnosis itself.

It is not enough to simply prove that you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia; you must be able to prove that the symptoms of the disorder prevent you from working, even after taking measures to make them better (i.e. anti-psychotic medication).

Qualifying for SSD with Schizophrenia

In order to qualify for disability benefits based on schizophrenia under 12.03 of the Social Security’s listing of impairments, an individual must be able to prove that he or she constantly or intermittently suffers from one of the following:

  • Delusions or hallucinations;
  • Disorganized thinking (speech); or
  • Grossly disorganized behavior or catatonia (rigid muscles, unresponsiveness, or inappropriate actions).

Although medical records often provide the symptoms and limitations with which an individual is struggling, they don’t often include how the condition prevents them from working. This is imperative when it comes to receiving SSD benefits.

The Disability Attorneys of Michigan Can Help

Applying for SSD benefits can be tricky, but when you are dealing with a complicated mental condition such as schizophrenia, it can be even more difficult. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced disability lawyer who can manage the hearing process and explain everything to you. Give us a call today for a free consultation at 800-701-5524.


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I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.