An individual who suffers from an intellectual disability may qualify for a Social Security disability payment. The first step in the process of qualifying for a Social Security disability payment is to file a claim (which can be done online, in person, or over the phone). Once filed, this claim will help pull together the evidence needed to determine whether a person qualifies as disabled for Social Security.
The first thing that is assessed is whether or not the individual is working at an SGA (substantial gainful activity) level. If a person is working and earning over $1,000 per month they will not qualify for Social Security disability payments. However, a person can be employed at less than SGA levels and still may qualify for Social Security disability payments.
For people who are not working, their disability is assessed as to whether it is considered “severe”. The intellectual disability must prevent the individual from engaging in basic work. If it is found that the intellectual disability doesn’t prevent the individual from working in some sort of capacity, they are unable to qualify for benefits.
Social Security publishes a list of conditions which are considered to be severe enough that individuals proven to suffer from one or more of these conditions to the degree specified will qualify for social security disability payments. Most of these conditions are severe enough that they are permanent or are terminal (will ultimately result in the death of the patient). If an individual has suffered from an intellectual disability since birth, they may qualify for Social Security Disability payments from childhood. However, some people suffer from an acquired brain injury that results in an intellectual disability that prevents them from engaging in the sort of work they were once capable of.
The real test for people applying for social security disability payments for an intellectual disability is how severe the disability is. According to the requirements set out by Social Security, the level of intellectual disability is determined on a scale from A to D. Those who meet the criteria of standard A, for example, have intellectual disabilities so severe that they need assistance in most areas of their life, they are often so disabled that an accurate IQ score can’t be determined. People who meet this criteria should qualify for Social Security Disability payments without a problem. Those with an IQ below 59 meet criteria B, and those with an IQ between 60 and 70 with some other form of mental or physical impairment meet criteria C. However, an individual with an IQ between 60 and 70 to doesn’t possess any other mental or physical impairments, must meet other criteria before they are considered to have a severe enough intellectual disability to qualify for a social security disability payment.
Unfortunately, at least 65% of people who file a Social Security disability application are rejected. This is especially true if it is difficult to prove that their impairments are severe enough to meet the criteria. Sometimes it helps to get the assistance of a Social Security Disability attorney who can aid the individual in gathering enough information to make their claim sound. If their claim has been rejected, an attorney can assist in making appeals, or alternate arguments that can enable you to have multiple ways to win your claim.
Twenty pages about applying for and winning Social Security Disability benefits in Heard & Smith's guidebook. Get the guidebook now.
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