This post discusses Intellectual Disability and SSI/SSDI. If you or someone you love has been assessed with an intellectual disability, they may be found eligible for disability benefits. Thankfully, The Social Security Administration abandoned the term “mental retardation” in 2013 in favor of the term “intellectual disability.” For more information on that change click here.
Intellectual disability varies greatly from one person to another. Common characteristics I have seen in my practice are low IQ scores, placement in special education with IEPs, failing grades and the inability to keep up with one’s peers mentally. Slower than usual development, difficulty remembering appropriate social behavior, and difficulty problem-solving are some additional symptoms. Found here.
Intellectual disabilities are usually present at birth and are lifelong. However, a child can function normally at birth, but digress as they age. In addition, people who experience a traumatic brain injury can also suffer from an intellectual disability. A sudden brain injury can change how you think, remember, and interact with others. Found here.
Regardless of how your intellectual disability occurred, it is still difficult to deal with and can leave you unable to work. The Social Security Administration evaluates intellectual disabilities under Listing 12.02 Neurocognitive Disorders or 12.05 Intellectual Disability.
Listing 12.02: This listing is targeted at individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury or other condition that has caused dysfunction of the brain. You must meet requirements A and B OR A and C. Prong A discusses (must have one of these) a significant loss in cognitive ability that affects your ability to sustain complex attention; executive function; learning and memory; language; perceptual-motor;or social cognition. Prong B requires extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning: understand, remember, or apply information; interact with others; concentrate, persist, or maintain pace, or adapt, or manage oneself. Prong C requires that your mental disorder in this listing category is “serious and persistent;” that is, you have a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder; AND marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life. In summary, you must show that since the accident or injury, your ability to think has been significantly affected.
Listing 12.05: This listing is more relevant for someone who was born with an intellectual disability. In the past, Listing 12.05C caused much litigation and confusion. In 2017, the SSA eradicated 12.05C and replaced it with the listing that you now see. This listing requires significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning evident in your cognitive inability to function at a level required to participate in standardized testing of intellectual functioning AND significant deficits in adaptive functioning currently manifested by your dependence upon others for personal needs (for example: toileting, eating, dressing, or bathing) AND the evidence about your current intellectual and adaptive functioning and about the history of your disorder demonstrates or supports the conclusion that the disorder began prior to your attainment of age 22 OR an IQ score of 70 or below AND significant deficits in adaptive functioning currently manifested by extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning: Understand, remember, or apply information or interact with others or concentrate, persist, or maintain pace; or adapt or manage oneself AND the evidence about your current intellectual and adaptive functioning and about the history of your disorder demonstrates or supports the conclusion that the disorder began prior to age 22. This listing describes someone who is essentially unable to care even for themselves.
As discussed elsewhere on this site, SSA’s listings are usually difficult to meet. As you see from the above, the intellectual listings are no exception. If you meet the above criteria, you may be found disabled based on 12.02 or 12.05, but even if you do not meet this listing, you still may be found disabled in other ways. If you or someone you care for is unable to work because an intellectual disability, file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits (SSI/SSDI) as soon as possible and call The Bishop Law Firm for a free case evaluation. We want to help!
*This post was last updated on May 24, 2018.*