Schizophrenia is often difficult to manage, even with medication. Some people with this mental health disorder struggle to maintain a job or to return to their previous job after diagnosis. If you received a schizophrenia diagnosis and it looks as though you will be unable to work for a year or more, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits based on your impairments.
The disability attorneys at Berger and Green can help you understand the government benefits you qualify for if your impairment prevents you from working. We can answer your questions, help with your claim, and guide you through the appeals process, if that becomes necessary. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 to make an appointment for your free case evaluation. Our attorneys can help you get disability for schizophrenia in Pittsburgh.
How can schizophrenia cause impairments in those diagnosed with the disorder?
Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders cause a range of symptoms that may make it difficult to work and maintain a job. Some people even struggle to remain independent. They may occasionally require hospitalization or placement in a care facility where doctors can closely monitor and manage their condition.
Many people with schizophrenia suffer from delusions and hallucinations, mood disturbances, paranoia, and even catatonic states. These symptoms prevent normal functioning and often lead to social withdrawal and a loss of pleasure in previously enjoyed activities.
Even with medication and therapy, these symptoms are sometimes difficult to control. The medications themselves also have side effects that could make it difficult or impossible to continue working your previous job.
If you received a diagnosis of schizophrenia or believe a loved one may suffer from the condition, we can help determine your eligibility for disability or other benefits. These government benefits can help you ensure the financial stability for your family if you cannot work because of your illness.
Who qualifies for disability because of their schizophrenia diagnosis?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a book of impairment listings that outline the criteria you need to meet to qualify as disabled based on your diagnosis. The eligibility guidelines for schizophrenia are in Section 12.03 – Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.
To qualify under the impairment listings, you will need to have documentation in your medical records of:
- Hallucinations or delusions;
- Disorganized speech or thought; or
- Catatonia or severely disorganized behavior.
In addition, you need to display one extreme limitation or two marked problems with:
- Your ability to understand, remember, and use information;
- Your ability to interact with others in a normal way;
- Your concentration skills and ability to maintain focus on a task; and
- You adaptability to changes and ability to manage your own behaviors.
Alternatively, you may qualify if your medical records show you have a “serious and persistent” schizophrenic disorder that lasts for two years or more. To qualify under these criteria, you must be able to prove your condition requires medical treatment, therapy, or institutionalization. The SSA will also need to see documentation showing you have great difficulty adapting to changes in circumstance or environment.
Even if you do not meet these qualifications, you may still receive SSD benefits based on your mental residual functional capacity. The SSA reviews the documentation of your condition in your medical records and determines how your illness limits your ability to work and care for yourself. The result of this investigation is your mental residual functional capacity.
In general, you must be unable to work at any job you previously held or at another job requiring unskilled labor to qualify for SSD. If you are not sure if you qualify, we can help you examine your eligibility for SSD.
How does my doctor affect my ability to get disability benefits?
It is important to get the care you need for your mental health disorder and to continue seeing your doctor and following all treatment advice. This is key in both managing your condition and getting the government disability benefits you deserve.
When determining whether they will approve your claim, the SSA will look at your medical records and request certain documentation from your doctors. When you go to appointments, attend therapy sessions, and fill prescriptions, it creates a record of your treatment and care that makes it much easier to prove your condition. Do not discontinue medical care, even if you feel better. It may jeopardize your chances for SSD benefits.
How can a disability attorney help me get the benefits I deserve?
At Berger and Green, our legal team can help you file a claim for disability benefits based on the symptoms of your condition and your diagnosis. For decades, our Pittsburgh attorneys have offered their understanding and support to clients who need help filing mental illness claims.
If you cannot work for a year or more because of your mental health disorder, we can help you determine what benefits you qualify for so you can file an application. If the SSA has already denied your claim, we can navigate the appeals process for you, securing the benefits and financial security you need.
The criteria the SSA uses to determine if you are eligible for disability benefits are complex. You need experienced legal representation to help you obtain the payments you deserve. We know what the SSA is looking for and we can improve your chances of approval. We are ready to go to work on your claim. Contact us today to get started.
How can I reach a Pittsburgh disability attorney?
To learn more about how we can help you get the benefits you deserve, or for a free evaluation of your claim, call Berger and Green today. You can reach our Pittsburgh office at 412-661-1400. We are ready to go to work on your claim so you can begin drawing the benefits you need to care for yourself and your family.