Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how a person experiences reality. Schizophrenia must be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, social worker or other clinician, and is most often characterized by paranoia, hallucinations, bizarre delusions and perceptions, lack of emotions or motivations, and social and occupational dysfunction.

There are no biological tests that can be done to determine schizophrenia; therefore diagnosis depends upon the experiences reported by the patient in tandem with behaviors observed by the psychiatrist. To help determine schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is addressed in the social security administration’s impairment listing manual in Listing 12.03, titled Schizophrenic, Paranoid, and Other Psychotic Disorders. The actual reading of the listing is fairly extended, but it can be summarized as follows.

To qualify for disability benefits by either meeting or equaling the specifications of listing 12.03, a disability applicant’s records must show the existence of intermittent or continuous–

* Delusions or hallucinations
* Catatonic or other grossly disorganized behavior
* A state of illogical thinking, incoherence, loosening of associations, or poverty of content of speech (associated with either a blunt, flat, or inappropriate display of mood or affect)
* Emotional withdrawal and/or isolation

For a claimant to satisfy the requirements of listing 12.03, their records must also indicate that at least two of the following apply:

* Markedly restricted daily activities;
* Marked restrictions in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace;
* Marked restriction in the ability to maintain social functioning;
* Extended and repeated episodes of decomposition