Social Security Disability Benefits and Schizoaffective Disorder

If you have a schizoaffective disorder, you may meet the requirements for Social Security disability
benefits
and be found disabled. The Social Security Administration does not have a listing for
schizoaffective disorder, but a person with this disorder may meet the requirements under Listing of
Impairments § 12.03 (Schizophrenia) or § 12.04 (Depressive, bipolar and related disorders).

In order to meet the listing for schizophrenia, you must have at least one of the following; delusions or
hallucinations, disorganized thinking (speech), or grossly disorganized behavior or catatonia (the
inability to move normally). You must also have an extreme limitation of one, or marked limitations of
two, in the following areas of mental functioning:
• understanding, remembering, or applying information;
• interacting with others;
• concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
• adapting or managing oneself.

If your medical records do not match the above requirements, you can still meet the listing by showing
that you have had a history of the disorder lasting two years or longer, were under a qualified
physician’s care and that you are unable to work despite following prescribed therapies.

If you experience these symptoms, you may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits under
Listing of Impairments § 12.03. If you do not qualify for benefits under Listing of Impairments §
12.03, you may be able to meet the depressive, bipolar, and related disorder listing, § 12.04, which
requires you to have lasting periods of depression that include at least 5 of these symptoms;
• depressed mood;
• diminished interest in almost all activities;
• appetite disturbance with changes in weight;
• sleep disturbance;
• observable psychomotor agitation or retardation;
• decreased energy;
• feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
• difficulty concentrating or thinking; or
• thoughts of death or suicide; AND

An extreme limitation in one, or marked limitation in two, of the following areas of mental functioning:
• understanding, remembering, or applying information;
• interacting with others;
• concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
• adapting or managing oneself.

In the alternative, you can still meet the requirements for the listing if your medical records indicate a
history of the disorder for at least 2 years, that your medical treatment is ongoing and that you have
minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to the demands that are not already a part
of your daily life.

Some applicants for Social Security disability benefits may not be able to meet or match one of the
above Blue Book listings. In that case, you may still be eligible to get benefits through an analysis of
your residual functional capacity, in which, if the Social Security Administration finds your functional
capacity is so impaired that you are unable to work at all, you will be approved for benefits.

If you or someone you know has a schizoaffective disorder and would like to speak with an attorney
about filing for Social Security disability benefits, call the law office of Michael Monce at (859)344-8090.