Mental health is critically important for all Floridians. While many of us go through life without having to deal with issues related to our mental health, many others cannot escape problems caused by mental disorders. Tragically, even with the assistance of medication and other medical treatments, these individuals may struggle to live a normal life. This includes holding a job, meaning that they may not have a steady income to support themselves. Such a lack of income can leave them destitute, unable to afford their medical care, housing and food. This can be especially true for those dealing with schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychotic disorders.
As scary as this may sound, relief may be available via the Social Security disability system. However, in order to recover benefits, these individuals must meet the definition of "disabled" as laid out by the Social Security Administration. As it relates to schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychotic disorders, disability can be shown if the onset of psychotic elements causes deterioration of a previous level of mental functioning.
This can be proven a number of ways. First, a claimant must show that he or she suffers from delusions, hallucinations, catatonia or incoherence together with blunt, flat, or inappropriate affect or emotional withdraw or isolation. In addition to one of these elements, the claimant must have two of either restriction on daily activities and living, trouble maintaining social functionality, difficulty maintaining concentration or repeated and extended bouts of decompensation.
Alternatively to the above method, disability under this section can be shown if a claimant can provide medical documentation showing the medical condition has persisted for at least two years. Additionally, the claimant must show repeated and extended bouts of decompensation or at least one year of an inability to function outside of a supported living environment.
Recovering Social Security disability can be challenging. But for many, it is the financial lifesaver that they need. Those who wish to learn more should consider discussing the matter with an attorney. This will not only better inform the individual but will ensure that they are taking appropriate steps to protect his or her rights and interests.
Source: Social Security Administration, "12.00 Mental Disorders - Adult," accessed on May 30, 2016