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Can suffering from schizophrenia be considered a disability?

People can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits for illnesses of all kinds. Physical illnesses can be described in detail in an application for SSD benefits, and they can be accompanied by photographs of the disabilities that they cause. But what if the illness is not physical, but mental? The mental impairment known as schizophrenia has been in the news quite a bit lately, but can suffering from schizophrenia be considered a disability?

Many of our Los Angeles readers may not know a whole lot about schizophrenia. It is a mental condition that can impair a person's ability to make decisions, think clearly and manage their emotions. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one percent of all Americans suffer from schizophrenia. That may sound like a small number, but considering that there are about 308 million people in America, that one percent equals over three million people who suffer from this mental condition.

What makes schizophrenia somewhat unique is that it can be difficult to diagnose. It can be easier to spot if someone has a history of mental illness in their family, but otherwise signs of the beginnings of this mental condition could include changes in behavior - sleep, eating or performance at school or work. Other times people with this condition may seem overly paranoid and suspicious. In whatever way this mental condition develops, the result will typically be the same: the person simply cannot relate to other people, and they cannot think clearly.

With such a profound effect upon a person's mental abilities, it is easy to see why a person who suffers from schizophrenia might be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits could help the person afford the treatment they need.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness, "Schizophrenia," Accessed May 3, 2015

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