Social Security for Cognitive Impairment
The intellectual disability spectrum is broad and ranges from high-functioning individuals who are able to live with a cognitive impairment to the severely disabled. Because of this, determining who should qualify for mental disability benefits is a persistent question, both among legislators and the families of those affected. If you are unable to work due to a cognitive disability, you may be able to apply for federal benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Cognitive issues and intellectual disabilities stemming from a physical cause are more likely to be accepted by the SSA as qualifying for benefits — partially because these types of injuries may be easier to prove. While many cognitive impairment disabilities are invisible injuries, you may be able to receive Social Security for a cognitive impairment if your impairment is the result of:
- Cerebral Cognitive Affective Disorder (CCAD)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Vascular Dementia
- Cerebral Cognitive Affective Disorder (CCAD)
- Pick’s Disease
Even if your injury or condition is caused by something else, you may be able to find documentation to show the SSA that you qualify for benefits. Working with a disability attorney can help. A qualified attorney understands the challenges of trying to prove intellectual disability and understands what the burden of proof is. By working with empathetic medical professionals and other experts, a skilled attorney can show how your life has been affected by disability, increasing your chances of success when you apply for benefits.
Starting Your Application
To begin an application for mental disability benefits, you must first determine what program you or your dependent qualify under. If you have sufficient work history and have contributed a certain amount to Social Security in the past, you can apply under the Social Security Disability (SSD) program. If you have never worked before or don’t have enough work credits to qualify for SSD, you can apply to the needs-based Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To apply for either SSI or SSD, you will need to provide medical evidence of a mental impairment that will prevent you from working for a year or more. Because of the range of conditions that fall under the banner of mental disabilities, the more medical information you can provide, the better your chances will be of success. In particular, MRI and CT scans demonstrating an abnormality that causes cognitive impairment may help your case greatly. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), neurological exams, neuropsychological tests, as well as evaluations by qualified medical professionals, can also help strengthen your case and prove cognitive disability. You may realize you have suffered a disability or cognitive impairment, but proving it can be a challenge. Medical testing may be able to help you show a progressive decline of cognitive ability or problems with mobility, visual processing, language, communication, memory and other abilities necessary for your job.
Denied Disability For Cognitive Impairment?
Being denied disability for cognitive impairment can be upsetting and stressful, especially if you need disability benefits to pay your bills. There many reasons why a denial can occur in a cognitive impairment disability claim:
- Lack of adequate medical records and testing to support the claim
- Noncompliance with medication or treatment
- Lack of duration of the cognitive impairment
If you were denied disability benefits you feel you rightfully deserve after suffering a cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, low IQ, or other cognitive impairments, contact a Social Security disability attorney to discuss your situation. An attorney will understand what documentation you need to prove your disability and can appeal the decision, so you may receive the benefits for which you are entitled.
If you were denied disability after suffering cognitive impairment, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco for a consultation. Lisa M. Ritacco has focused on Social Security and SSI practice areas for more than ten years, and she understands what it takes to support clients in securing their benefits. She will review your situation to ascertain possible reasons why you were denied and may help you launch an appeal, securing the medical evidence needed to prove your cognitive impairment.
Proving Cognitive Impairment Disability Eligibility
Cognitive impairments are not visible, but they are a very real health problem. There may be no clear outward symptoms, so in many cases patients need to submit to testing and multiple medical evaluations to determine whether cognitive impairment has occurred and to ascertain the extent of that impairment. In order to prove you have a cognitive impairment, you need to prove that you suffered memory loss, lower IQ, or other cognitive issues after a specific injury or event. In addition, you must show that your current cognitive condition prevents you from working or from performing everyday tasks related to your job. There are several ways to do this:
- Contact an attorney, who may offer suggestions as to how you can secure proof
- Cooperate with all doctors’ appointments and treatments
- Keep a list of symptoms and records related to your medical treatments and appointments
- Undergo specialized testing, such as a neuropsychiatric examination or IQ test
- Cooperate with consultative examination, which the Social Security Administration may order to help evaluate the extent of your impairment
The Social Security Administration will use a disability examiner to review your case. This examiner will look for evidence of reduced ability to learn instructions, concentrate, and understand and retain instructions. He or she will also examine social functioning — such as the ability to get along with others — as well as judgment, and the ability to maintain a consistent work schedule. Proving cognitive impairment can be a challenge. If you are having trouble proving cognitive impairment, contact a Social Security disability attorney. Consider contacting the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco for a consultation to review your situation. Lisa M. Ritacco focuses only on disability, Social Security, and workers’ compensation cases, ensuring she is prepared to handle your case.
Is Mild Cognitive Impairment a Disability?
Distinct from the broad category of cognitive or intellectual disabilities, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) refers to a specific condition which often appears as a precursor to Alzheimer’s in older adults. Symptoms of MCI include memory, judgment and cognition problems that are more severe than those typically associated with aging, but not prevalent to the point where a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is applicable. Between 10 and 15% of adults with MCI will develop full-on Alzheimer’s; others will see their symptoms remain constant, and a few will actually return to normal over time. If an individual with an MCI diagnosis is chronically unable to follow instructions properly, maintain concentration or be aware of workplace hazards, they may qualify to receive benefits through SSD or SSI.
Contact Ritacco Disability Law for Help With Your Claim
If you are considering applying for Social Security for a cognitive impairment, contact Ritacco Disability Law today. If you have already applied and been rejected, our team of disability lawyers can appeal your case and may be able to get your claim approved. Your initial consultation is always free, so contact us today to find out more about how a cognitive impairment disability attorney can help you get the compensation that you deserve.