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Can schizophrenia patients claim SSD benefits?

Living with a mental illness is always difficult. Many people would have either experienced the difficulties themselves or would have witnessed a family member or friend experiencing those difficulties. One example of such a mental illness that people in Pennsylvania would be aware of is schizophrenia. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration acknowledges the severity of schizophrenia and, therefore, offers Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to patients who meet the eligibility criteria.

According to the SSA's rulebook, a person is eligible for schizophrenia-related SSD benefits if he or she demonstrates certain symptoms of the disease. Some of those symptoms are delusions, hallucinations, mood swings, abnormal speech and several others. Besides checking the existence of those symptoms, the SSA also checks if those symptoms have prevented the claimant from performing basic daily activities or affected some of the most basic inherent abilities. Additionally, the SSA will check of the symptoms have affected that person's social behavior and personal relationships.

There may be some cases where someone who applies does not meet all these eligibility criteria. Fortunately, for those cases too, the claimant may be able to obtain benefits if that person can establish that the symptoms have lasted for a period of at least 24 months and have resulted in being unable to work. Additionally, those symptoms must have left the claimant in a condition where he or she needs continuous monitoring and assistance.

The information in this post may give the impression that obtaining SSDI benefits for schizophrenia is an easy task. However, the fact remains that dealings with the SSA are often complicated because SSD claims need to be supported by plenty of medical evidence and other documentation that can complicate the process. For this reason, working with someone experienced in helping people obtain SSA benefits could be a great way to begin the process.

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee