Disability Benefits for Schizophrenia in Philadelphia, PA & Surrounding Areas
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that affects about 2.5 million people in the United States. Symptoms of schizophrenia can include the inability to distinguish between what is real and not real, difficulty thinking clearly and the inability to function normally in social situations. As the condition progresses, the individual may begin to exhibit bizarre behavior and experience hallucinations. Those afflicted with schizophrenia often begin to develop symptoms during their teenage years and continue to experience them throughout their adult lives.
While symptoms of schizophrenia can be controlled with medication to a degree, those suffering from the disorder typically have difficulty leading a normal life, including maintaining steady employment. For many afflicted with schizophrenia, Social Security disability benefits may be their only means of financial support.
Schizophrenia Social Security Disability Benefits Are Difficult to Obtain
While Social Security insurance and Social Security disability benefits for schizophrenia sufferers are available, they are often difficult to obtain. In fact, about 60 percent of initial SSDI schizophrenia claims are denied. If you or a loved one is having difficulty receiving SSDI or SSI for schizophrenia, you need the help of an experienced and dedicated schizophrenia Social Security disability attorney.
Lisa M. Ritacco: A Schizophrenia Social Security Disability Attorney Who Gets Results
Lisa M. Ritacco is a disability attorney who specializes in helping her clients get the Social Security disability benefits they deserve. A compassionate and caring advocate for her clients, Attorney Ritacco can guide you through the complex appeal process that is necessary if your initial claim for benefits has been denied. Attorney Ritacco has been successfully representing disability clients on both the local and national front for more than six years.
Denied Disability for Schizophrenia?
Unfortunately, being denied disability benefits for schizophrenia is common. The conditions affects perceptions of reality, so some patients with the condition do not want to visit a doctor or have trouble identifying that they have a condition. In addition, patients may take medication for some time but then stop because they feel they do not need it, which can cause symptoms to re-emerge. The nature of the condition can make it a challenge for individuals with schizophrenia to apply for and secure benefits.
In order to secure schizophrenia disability benefits, you need to prove you either meet the requirements of Listing 12.03 (schizophrenic, paranoid, and other psychotic disorders) in the Social Security Listing of Impairments. To show you meet the requirements, you must have medical proof that you have at least one of the following symptoms persistently, even though you have tried medication and treatment:
- Emotional withdrawal or social isolation, caused by the condition
- Lack of logical thinking paired with inappropriate or flat communication and demeanor
In addition to having these symptoms, you must also show your condition has resulted in:
- Severe impairment in your ability to interact with others
- Severe limits in how you can function daily
- Significant problems with focus, attention, concentration and perseverance with tasks
- Episodes of increase in symptoms and resulting poorer ability to function, lasting two weeks or more
If you cannot prove the above but can provide medical documentation that you have had schizophrenia for two years or more and have had your ability to work severely hampered by this condition, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Proving Schizophrenia Disability Eligibility
If you have been denied benefits or need to prove you are eligible for disability benefits due to your schizophrenia, you may wish to consult with a schizophrenia attorney. A schizophrenia law firm that has handled many schizophrenia disability cases understands what it takes to prove the condition and can represent you as you seek benefits.
To prove schizophrenia and your eligibility for disability benefits, you will need to prove your condition meets listing requirements or severely impacts your ability to work and function. Therefore, you will need records of hospitalization and treatment for schizophrenia. In addition, opinions and records from doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals can be important. Results of psychological testing can also help to establish your diagnosis and the severity of the condition. If you live in a supportive environment or a structured environment where you receive additional support, documentation of this living arrangement as well as statements from staff or friends and family can establish your symptoms may get worse outside of this environment, meaning your ability to work and function may be affected by schizophrenia and you may qualify for benefits.
If you live with schizophrenia and have been denied disability benefits, contact a schizophrenia lawyer who has focused on disability benefits. An attorney at the office of Lisa M. Ritacco, for example, can review your case and can help you establish what you need to prove your disability.
How a Skilled SSI and SSDI Schizophrenia Attorney Can Help
While the majority of initial applications for Social Security benefits are denied, the good news is 60 percent of these cases are won on appeal. However, it typically takes an attorney with a thorough understanding of the appeal process to achieve success.
Attorney Ritacco can handle all aspects of the appeal process for you, including obtaining your file from the Social Security Administration, preparing the necessary documents and legal briefs and requesting to reopen a previous application for benefits if appropriate. She will also prepare you to testify at your appeal hearing. If you are planning to file an initial application for benefits, Attorney Ritacco can assist you with this process as well.
Prompt Action is Necessary
If you have been denied SSDI or SSI for schizophrenia, it is imperative to take action quickly, as you have only 60 days from your denial date to file your appeal. Attorney Ritacco will provide a free initial consultation to review your situation and determine whether it is in your best interest to move forward. If your appeal is ultimately successful, attorney fees are limited to the lesser amount of 25 percent of past due benefits or $6,000.
Don’t let the absence of schizophrenia Social Security disability benefits limit the quality of life for you or a loved one. Contact Lisa M. Ritacco for a free consultation today.
For more information on Schizophrenia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.