This post discusses SSA Disability Benefits for Psychosis. If you or someone you love has been assessed with psychosis or a psychotic disorder read on for how Social Security will evaluate your claim.
This post is not medical advice. If you are having symptoms of mental illness, please seek immediate medical attention.
Types of Social Security Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration generally offers two types of benefits for the disabled: Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is based on the credits from the work that you have done in your life while SSI is a need based program. You must be found disabled under SSA’s Five Step Sequential Evaluation before you are entitled to either benefit.
What is Psychosis?
Psychosis is a symptom, not an illness itself. In simple words, psychosis means that you have lost contact with reality. Psychosis can consist of hallucinations or delusions or both. Hallucinations can be seeing, hearing or even physically feeling things that are not there.
Delusions are strong irrational beliefs (Via NAMI). In addition, homicidal and suicidal ideation can occur. Anxiety can come from the recurrence of hallucinations and delusions which can cause decompensation after a period of stable mental health.
Psychosis causes include: alcohol or drug use, brain diseases (Parkinson’s), brain tumors, dementia, HIV, some prescription drugs, some forms of epilepsy, or a stroke. In addition, most people with schizophrenia and some people with depression, bipolar disorder or a personality disorder can have psychosis. Via NIH .
Treatment depends on the cause of the psychosis. For some, short term use of an anti-psychotic may be all that is needed to treat a psychotic episode but others may be on anti-psychotics for life. Abilify, Risperdal, Zyprexa and Haldol are some anti-psychotic medications. Unfortunately anti-psychotic medications can come with unpleasant side effects. Via WebMD Psychotherapy is also a treatment that many benefit from.
In my clients with psychosis, there can be an issue with them not taking their medicine because their mental illness tells them that they do not need their medicine. This is frequently true for schizophrenia and bipolar patients. Unfortunately, many patients have to overcome the persuasion of the disease before they are able to be treated for their mental condition. This difficulty can result in recurrent inpatient visits for psychotic symptoms.
Does psychosis qualify for disability?
As discussed many times before on this blog, the name of your disease is not as important as the severity of your symptoms. Severity is key to winning your claim for SSDI and/or SSI benefits.
The Social Security Administration can evaluate psychosis based on the underlying cause or under 12.03 Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders. This listing requires psychosis that results in at least two of the following: marked restriction of activities of daily living; or marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.
The question is what are marked difficulties? Social Security defines “marked” as when your impairment(s) interferes seriously with your ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities. “Marked” limitation also means a limitation that is “more than moderate” but “less than extreme.” Via SSA .
Are you unable to be around others because of paranoia or anger outbursts? Are you unable to complete simple household tasks or unable to properly care for your personal hygiene? Are you frightened to leave home due to hallucinations or delusions which cause anxiety? Are your hallucinations persuading you to commit violence or suicide? If so, you may meet SSA’s definition of “marked.”
The above listing, as with most SSA Listings, is difficult to meet. Fortunately, you can also be found disabled by Social Security based on the combination of your impairments. Psychiatric and related disorders rarely occur alone and the combination of your impairments may result in symptoms that eliminate your ability to work.
If you are unable to work due to a mental disorder, file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits for Psychosis as soon as possible. Delay may cause you to lose disability benefits.
The Bishop Law Firm represents clients with disability claims in Raleigh, NC and surrounding areas. We do not get paid unless you win and we offer free case reviews, (919) 615-3095. Call us today!
Also the Overview of the Disability Process