Terms like “intellectual disabilities,” “developmentally disabled,” and “intellectually impaired” are all used to describe people who have various cognitive problems that affect their communication skills, social skills and mental acuity. Just like the people who have them, intellectual disabilities come in all kinds of varieties. Some of those may qualify a person for disability benefits and some may not.
If your loved one has an intellectual disability and you’re wondering if they’re eligible for Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income, here’s what you should know:
Their performance on an IQ test is only part of the equation
Typically, anyone with an intellectual quotient (IQ) of less than 70 may receive a severe intellectual disability. Generally speaking, the lower someone’s IQ, the more difficulty they may have managing daily routines, adapting to change, following instructions and learning new skills. They may have difficulty remembering things, problems with critical thinking, and a tough time relating to others. The lower someone’s IQ, the more pronounced those problems can be.
Pregnancy complications, genetic conditions, malnutrition and toxic exposure, can all result in intellectual disabilities. So too can down, fetal alcohol and Fragile X syndromes. Sometimes, intellectual impairments, like non-verbal autism coupled with a low IQ, have no known cause.
Does my loved one qualify for disability benefits?
Two individuals seldom have the same intellectual deficits or coexisting mental or physical health concerns. When applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, it’s important to list not only the applicant’s intellectual disabilities but also their physical limitations. All of those will be considered together when the Social Security Administration makes its decision.
A low score on an IQ test alone may not be enough to qualify someone for SSD or SSI. An attorney who understands the mechanics of Social Security Disability claims can help you compile the necessary information to ensure that their application for benefits receives a fair analysis.