Filing for Disability While Living with Schizophrenia

by Editorial Board on December 21, 2010 · 2 comments

in Mental Conditions

Many people who suffer from schizophrenia will not be able to maintain full time work, and for this reason will need financial support. People who are diagnosed with schizophrenia may be eligible for SSDI and SSI benefits, however to get these benefits you must first apply and meet the strict criteria of the listings of impairments, or be able to demonstrate that there are no jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that you could perform, based on your age, education, your prior work and your medical problems.

Many people who apply for benefits are refused at the initial application stage.  Many will appeal that denial and get a hearing where they can be successful.  The reason that so many people fail to win disability benefits even when the have a medical diagnosis of schizophrenia is because the listing of impairments’  guidelines define a level of severity that all people will not have.  Unless the impact of your schizophrenia on your ability to perform work related activities is well documented, it may be difficult to show that there are no jobs you can perform.

Documented Severity of Your Condition

What can make or break a disability claim for schizophrenia is medical records. If your records are incomplete, have large gaps in treatment, or if you have never been in treatment, then your claim will usually be harder to prove.

How You Can Win Disability Benefits

Staying in treatment, being compliant with your prescriptions, and not taking drugs or alcohol are all good advice to someone trying to win disability benefits based on their mental illness.  Make sure that your doctor or psychiatrist keeps clear, thorough and accurate records of your illness.

Don’t tell your doctor you are “doing fine” if you really are not.  In the context of a disability examination, statements like that could be used against you.  Many people who suffer from schizophrenia attempt to be compliant with their treatment, but the nature of the illness actually prevents them from always having clear and logical thinking. With this in mind, it may be a good idea to enlist a disability attorney to help with a Social Security Disability claim. The attorney’s office will be familiar with how you should develop evidence, and present your case to have your best chances of winning benefits.

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Whitney Harper May 2, 2011 at 9:00 am

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