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A deeper look at schizophrenia and your eligibility for benefits

Back in September, we spoke with our readers about the fact that people who have mental conditions have just as much of a right to Social Security disability benefits as those who have physical conditions. Even though they are more difficult to document -- or see for that matter -- this does not mean that they are any less disabling than physical conditions.

In that post, we listed several mental conditions that can qualify for disability benefits. One of them, as someone who read the post may remember, was schizophrenia. Some of our readers, who have been diagnosed with this condition, may have wondered though how this condition qualifies for benefits and what steps they should take to get the benefits they deserve. In this week's post, we’d like to address these questions.

For starters, one of the reasons schizophrenia qualifies for disability benefits is because of the symptoms associated with the disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenics typically experience hallucinations that can include hearing voices or seeing people and things that aren't there. In some cases, a schizophrenic may even become catatonic, sitting for "hours without moving or talking."

Schizophrenia is not a condition that simply goes away -- though it can be treated with medication. This means that a person who has schizophrenia will have the condition for their entire life. And depending on the severity of the condition and the frequency of hallucinations, it's a condition that can easily have a significant impact on someone's life.

It's for these and other reasons that a person with schizophrenia can qualify for disability benefits. In order to receive benefits though, a person must first apply for benefits and have their application approved by the Social Security Administration.

As so many of our readers know though, the application process is not a simple one and applications aren't always approved the first time around. Appeals are often necessary and may require the help of an attorney. Such experience and service is offered at Terry Katz & Associates, P.C. because we specialize in understanding Social Security law and how it applies to you.

Source: The National Institute of Mental Health, "What is Schizophrenia?" Accessed Jan. 16, 2015

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