People in Detroit and throughout the state who are seeking Social Security disability benefits often believe that there have to be clearly visible issues or a medical problem like a back injury for them to be approved. However, people suffering from mental problems such as schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychotic issues also have the right to file for and receive benefits if they meet the criteria listed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
These disorders must be characterized with a deterioration from a prior level of functioning. In order to be approved, both categories A and B must be satisfied or category C must be satisfied by itself. For category A, there must be medical documentation for the continuous or intermittent persistence of the following: hallucinations or delusions; catatonia or other behaviors characterized by gross disorganization; behaving incoherently, thinking illogically and poverty of speech with blunt, flat or inappropriate affect; or emotional isolation and/or withdrawal. For category B, there must be two of the following: a restriction in daily activities; marked issues with a maintenance of social functioning; marked issues with maintaining pace, persistence or concentration; or decompensation for an extended period.
For category C, there must be paranoia, schizophrenia or psychotic disorder and it must be medically documented for at least two years. It must have caused more than minimal ability to perform basic work. The symptoms must be reduced by the use of medication or therapy. There must be one of the following: repeated decompensation; marginal alterations that a minor increase of mental requirements or environmental changes that can cause decompensation; or a history of a year or more being unable to function apart from a supportive environment and the consistent need for that environment.
Those who are suffering from mental problems leading to an inability to work need to understand that Social Security is an option that is available to help them make ends meet as they seek treatment for their problems. It can help with medical expenses as well as other costs. The first step to determining eligibility is oftentimes to discuss the matter with a qualified legal professional.
Source: ssa.gov, "Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders," accessed on Jan. 31, 2015