Is Schizoaffective Disorder a Disability?

Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition that is characterized largely by symptoms that are associated with schizophrenia. This raises an important question: Can I get Social Security disability benefits for schizoaffective disorder? The answer is ‘yes’—if you can prove that your disability is sufficiently severe to prevent you from working. Here, our Arizona SSDI lawyers discuss the key things to know about schizoaffective disorder and Social Security disability. 

What is Schizoaffective Disorder?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines schizoaffective disorder as a mental health condition that shares many common symptoms with schizophrenia. Among other things, some of the key symptoms that are associated with schizoaffective disorder include:

  • Hallucinations; 
  • Delusional thinking; 
  • Illogical decision-making; 
  • Disorganized speech; 
  • Mood disorders; 
  • Mania; and
  • Depression. 

While many people suffering from the condition are often misdiagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder is its own condition. Similar to other mental health issues, schizoaffective disorder exists on a spectrum. In some cases, it can be debilitating. 

The SSA Evaluation and Medical Eligibility: Schizoaffective Disorder

Whether you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, your disability application will be subject to a medical evaluation. Schizoaffective disorder can qualify for Social Security disability benefits—but a person’s application will only be approved if they can provide comprehensive medical evidence that demonstrates that they are disabled for the purposes of the law. Schizoaffective disorder SSD claims are reviewed under the following section of the Social Security Blue Book: 

  • Listing 12.03: Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. 

To bring a successful Social Security disability claim for schizoaffective disorder under Listing 12.03, an applicant generally needs to prove that they have symptoms that interfere with their ability to hold down a job on a full-time basis. This includes things like hallucinations, disordered thinking, and illogical/inconsistent thought patterns. Proving a diagnosis with schizoaffective disorder is not sufficient. An applicant must prove that their condition is so severe that it prevents them from working. 

Technical, Legal, and Financial Requirements Also Matter

There are two parts to a Social Security disability claim. You must meet both medical and non-medical standards. On the medical side, an applicant with schizoaffective disorder must prove both the existence and severity of that physiological impairment. On the non-medical side, an applicant must prove that they otherwise qualify for SSD benefits. With an SSDI claim, you will need to prove that you have adequate work credits. With an SSI claim, you must prove that you satisfy the federal program’s strict income and resource requirements.  

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Phoenix

At Pekas Smith: Arizona Disability Attorneys, we provide results-driven disability representation. If you have any questions about schizoaffective disorder and SSDI/SSI claims, we are more than ready to help. Call us now or send us a message online to set up your free case evaluation. From our Phoenix law office, we handle schizoaffective disorder disability claims throughout Arizona, including in Scottsdale, Tucson, Gilbert, and Flagstaff. 

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