More than half the people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as children have it for life. While doctors recognize it as a real medical condition, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has no impairment listing for ADHD. This doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for Social Security benefits if you have ADHD. It may be harder to get, but if you meet the SSA’s disability criteria, then you may be eligible.
Getting Approved for ADHD: It’s All About How Well You Function
While your diagnosis is important, the SSA really wants to see how it affects your ability to stay employed. If you’ve always had ADHD and a normal work history, for example, you likely won’t qualify for disability benefits. The SSA’s evaluation of your functionality doesn’t stop there, however. They will also take a look at your education to see if you finished high school or college as well as your age.
To receive benefits, you must prove your ADHD makes you unable to complete work tasks, interact positively with your coworkers or show up on time. If you had ADHD as a child, your case will be even better. Regardless of your current medical documentation, you will also need to show that you were unable to work for at least 12 months or that you will be unable to work for the next 12 months.
Accompanying Impairments May Solidify Your Case
There is one way to increase your chances of qualifying for Social Security disability, however. Many people who have ADHD also have an accompanying impairment, such as depression or anxiety. Meeting the qualifications for Social Security disability under mental disabilities such as these is often significantly easier, as they are specifically listed by the SSA, so you might try filing for one of those instead.
What the SSA does have a specific impairment listing for, though, is childhood ADHD. This might seem odd, but the disability is technically considered to be a developmental disorder, not a psychiatric disorder. If it’s your child you seek ADHD benefits for, you’re in luck: with the proper evidence, they might be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Functional abilities for children under 18, however, are measured inherently differently than for their adult counterparts.
When filing for SSI, you’ll need more than a diagnosis and prescription for your child. While medication is not explicitly listed as a contributing factor, it will almost always be examined by those reviewing your case. You’ll need to prove that they’ve been taking said medication regularly and that they still are unable to complete grade-appropriate work. They will likely also examine they can take proper physical care of themselves and if the impairment has affected their ability to function socially.
Ultimately, they will be looking for three medically documented symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. As is true in all SSI cases, your family income must be low enough to justify the additional income the SSA would provide you with. Should you exceed the income and resource cap, you will not be eligible. There are, however, ways to secure your child a benefit in the event that you are currently receiving your own Social Security disability.
Get Professional Assistance
Understanding and completing the application process for Social Security disability can be tricky regardless of your disability, so you might want to consider professional assistance from a specialized attorney or advocate before you apply. Whether you are applying for yourself or your child, your attorney will have the background knowledge needed to help you accurately complete your claim and help you secure the best chance of an approval your first time. To see if you may qualify for free legal assistance, click the button below to start your claim evaluation now.