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Learning About Social Security Disability Benefits

Adults who suffer from severe learning disabilities can find it difficult to maintain gainful employment. If you have a child who lives with a severe learning disability, it can be hard affording opportunities for them to succeed.The financial effects can be overwhelming to an individual or a family. The good news is that Social Security Disability benefits can help alleviate this financial strain. It can provide much-needed medical coverage to help pay for treatments and bills.

The Social Security Disability Programs

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two different disability programs. Those are Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Both programs provide a monthly payment and medical coverage to severely disabled individuals.

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, an individual must have worked enough in the past to earn sufficient work credits. For every $1,200 earned, an individual receives one work credit. They can receive a maximum of four work credits per year. If you are 62 years of age, you will need 40 work credits to qualify. 20 credits must have been earned in the last 10 years. Likewise, for someone under 62 years of age you can qualify for benefits with fewer credits. Your age determines the exact number of credits needed.

Work Credits

If an individual does not have enough work credits, or does not have any at all, the SSI program would be ideal. As children lack work credits, they would more likely be eligible for SSI. The SSI program is a needs-based program. In addition, it is based on financial need rather than work history. As of 2014, you must not have a household income exceeding $721 per month. That is as an individual or $1,082 per month as a couple.

Household assets must not exceed $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple. When applying on behalf of a child and the household income exceeds the above-mentioned levels, the child may still be eligible for benefits. Every impaired child’s application is based on a case-by-case basis.

The Social Security Blue Book

You will have to prove that you are disabled to qualify. That means proving that you have a condition listed in the Blue Book. Or meets the SSA’s Blue Book criteria. Also, that you have a condition that is equal to a section in the Blue Book.

The Blue Book lists all of the conditions and criteria that could potentially qualify an individual for SSD benefits . If an individual wanted to apply for Social Security Disability with ADHD they would have to follow the Blue Book guidelines. ADHD begins in early childhood, there is no similar section for the adult listings. You could receive benefits with ADHD as an adult, if you’re able to prove that:

  • You’ve had ADHD since childhood
  • ADHD has impaired your ability to complete work
  • Child diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Medically documented findings of marked inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity

Adult Disability Benefits

According to this Blue Book, to qualify for benefits under this listing, you would need to be able to prove that:

  • You suffer from an intellectual disability that involves significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning.
  • A valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 59 or less
  • An authentic verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a physical or other mental impairment imposing an additional and significant work-related limitation of function
  • A valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70, resulting in at least two of the following
  • Marked restriction of activities of daily living
  • Clear difficulties in maintaining social functioning
  • Marked struggles in maintaining concentration, persistence, pace
  • Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

You can apply for SSD benefits online or in person at your local Social Security office. However, children candidates and their parents/guardians must file their application in person. In addition, you will want to gather enough medical evidence to prove that you meet the Blue Book’s criteria. This can include clinical histories, medical records, lab results, testing results and treatment history.

After that, during the application process you will be asked to fill out a number of forms . That being said, be sure to fill out each form in its entirety. Detailed answers help the SSA understand how your condition prevents you from working. Or to prove your child has severe functional limitation. The more detail you can provide, the better the SSA will understand the interfering condition.

Consultative Exam

Likewise, you may also be required to attend a consultative exam. The purpose of this exam is to determine the extent of your disability. Not to provide treatment. It’s important to attend any exams that may be scheduled by the SSA. They can have impact on the decision of your claim.

You will receive a decision regarding your claim. Approximately two to four months from the date of your initial application. You will be told which benefits you qualify for. And how much you will be receiving. If you are denied benefits, you have 60 days from the date of the denial notice to appeal the SSA’s decision.

Appealing a Denial of Benefits

If you must appeal a denial, don’t lose faith. A significant percentage of applicants are indeed denied benefits during the initial stage of the application process. Regardless of how long the appeal process may take, if awarded benefits you will be awarded back pay for the duration of the appeal.

You may want to consider retaining a SSD attorney for purposes of the appeal process. A disability attorney will not cost you any up-front, out-of-pocket expense. These professionals work on a contingency basis. Collecting only 25% of the back pay you are awarded by the SSA. But, with a maximum amount of $6,000. In conclusion, considering the attorney can mean the difference between a successful appeal and further denial. It’s in your best interests to weigh out the options of legal representation.