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Although schizophrenia seems like it should be enough for a person to qualify for social security disability, the truth is that it is only one determining factor in an evaluation. In fact, the existence of most mental illnesses is not in and of itself enough for a person to qualify for SSD. To help shed some light on the complex social security disability benefits evaluation process, here is a look at how mental illnesses like schizophrenia play a role in it.
In order for someone to be recognized as having schizophrenia, or any mental illness for that matter, they must prove that they’ve suffered from one or more symptoms from the Social Security Administration’s “blue book.” While there are a variety of different symptoms and associated illnesses described in the blue book, here are a few that relate back to schizophrenia: suffering from hallucinations, having illogical thoughts, and being in a catatonic state.
Simply suffering from these symptoms isn’t enough for someone to qualify for an illness though, as they must also go on to prove that the symptoms caused a severe reduction in a person’s potential productivity. If a person is able to overcome their illness and continue to work or function normally, then they cannot qualify for SSD based on their illness.
If someone doesn’t quite suffer from the symptoms of an illness as outlined by the blue book, then the next step of the claims process is to instead have someone from the Social Security Administration evaluate their residual functioning capacity. Put simply, this is simply a measure of the person’s ability to function as normally, regardless of existing mental problems.
When a claim is submitted to the SSA, they will request medical records detailing any medications that a person takes to address their illness. If a person is found to be intentionally ignoring their prescriptions, then their claim can be rejected on the grounds that they are not adhering to their treatment. Unfortunately, the SSA can also use a person’s medication as an excuse to not give them benefits too. If a person is found to be too functional while on their medication, then they can be denied their benefits as well. It’s for this reason that it’s always a good idea to have an experienced social security disability benefits lawyer by your side, so that they can argue on your behalf whenever the SSA tries to avoid paying benefits.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law