Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

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Photo of David Dopkin

What are the requirements for intellectual disability benefits?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2016 | Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions

Millions of people in the United States have mental conditions that affect their lives. Like any other health problem, the type and severity of a person’s mental condition determines how big of an impact it will have on that person’s life. If a mental condition is severe enough, it can prevent the person from taking care of themselves, in which case they may be able to get help through a mental disability claim for Social Security benefits.

Intellectual disabilities are one type of mental condition that can qualify a person for SSD benefits. However, the person’s disability must meet specific requirements for the Social Security Administration to grant them disability benefits.

The SSA describes a qualifying intellectual disability as a person who has below average intellectual function that includes difficulties with adaptive functioning. These intellectual problems must be evident during the person’s developmental years, which means before the person is 22-years-old. In addition, the severity of a person’s intellectual disability meets the SSA’s requirements when it falls into one of four categories.

The first group is where the person is unable to follow directions and they depend on others for their personal needs including eating, dressing and bathing. A person who does not meet these requirements can still qualify for benefits if their full IQ score is 59 or less, or if the verbal or performance scores of their IQ are 59 or less.

A third group of qualifying intellectual disabilities include people who have an IQ score between 60 and 70, but also have another physical or mental condition that causes them additional and significant limitations when trying to work. Likewise, the fourth group of disabilities includes people with an IQ score between 60 and 70, who also have two of four other conditions. Those four conditions include: having restrictive daily activities; difficulties with social functioning; difficulties with concentration, persistence, or pace; and repeated and extended bouts of organ failure due to their mental or physical condition.

Anyone in the Houston area who suffers from an intellectual disorder, or has a family member who does, should research whether they can qualify for benefits. Furthermore, they can get help filing for disability benefits from an attorney who specializes in Social Security claims.