Schizophrenia is a debilitating medical condition that could affect your ability to find a job and work. It is a psychosis, meaning that it causes you to perceive things that are not real and believe things that are not true.
A diagnosis of schizophrenia can qualify you for Social Security Disability. However, as with other disabling medical conditions, mental as well as physical, you have to meet certain criteria.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
According to the Mayo Clinic, two of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations and delusions. A hallucination is a perception of something that does not exist. For example, if you have a visual hallucination, you see things that are not there. An example of an auditory hallucination that can occur with schizophrenia is hearing voices speaking to you even when you are alone. Visual and auditory hallucinations are most common with schizophrenia, but hallucinations can affect any sense.
A delusion is a belief that has no basis in fact and is at odds with reality. Nevertheless, you believe it persistently.
Other symptoms include disorganized behavior and thought. Examples of disorganized behavior include excessive movement or, conversely, catatonia, in which you fail to give any response to stimuli. Doctors use disorganized speech, such as unrelated answers to questions, to draw conclusions about the organization of your thoughts, or lack thereof.
When does schizophrenia qualify for SSD?
For your schizophrenia to qualify you for SSD, you must first have a doctor document one or more of the symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions or disordered behavior or speech. In addition, according to the Social Security Administration, you must be able to show that your condition limits your mental function or that your condition has remained serious and persistent for at least two years.
You must also show that you have minimal ability to adapt to new demands or environmental changes and that you are receiving medical treatment or mental health therapy on an ongoing basis.