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    Significant Cognitive Disability and SSI or SSDI Benefits

    According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), cognitive or intellectual disability refers to “a measured, below-average intelligence, to the extent that the individual lacks skills necessary to perform basic daily functions.”

    This form of disability is usually diagnosed during childhood and persists throughout the individual’s lifetime.

    Intellectual disability can range on a spectrum from mild to debilitating and can be caused by a number of things. The most common causes are genetics and problems during pregnancy and birth.
    A cartoon drawing of a brain shows it split into four puzzle pieces.

    Definition and Treatment

    Individuals with cognitive disabilities usually score below 70 on IQ testing, and a diagnosis of this type of disability usually occurs after a medical professional has documented deficiencies in learning, problem solving, memory, and speech.

    Because cognitive disability is not a disease in the regular sense, it is not treated as an illness. Those with intellectual disabilities may need occupational or physical therapies, supervision, and specially structured educational environments to help them succeed.

    Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits

    Intellectual disability is covered in section 12.05 of the SSA’s Blue Book. The listing found in this section of the Blue Book requires that one of the following be met to qualify for benefits because of an intellectual disability, including:

    • Mental incapacity, shown by a dependence on others for basic personal needs and the inability to follow directions to the extent that the use of standardized measures of intellectual functioning I precluded.
    • A valid verbal, performance, or full-scale IQ of 59 or less
    • A valid verbal, performance, or full-scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a physical or other mental impairment that imposes an additional and significant work-related functional limitation.
    • A valid verbal, performance, or full-scale IQ of 60 through 70, resulting in a least two of the following:
      •  Marked restriction of activities of daily living.
      •  Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning.
      •  Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.
      •  Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.

    In addition to these specific requirements, it should be noted that individuals having an intellectual disability that does not meet the requirements of the Blue Book listing may be eligible to qualify under a medical vocational allowance.

    This situation often occurs to disabled individuals who do not qualify under the Blub Book listing but have a condition that reduces their functional capabilities to the point that they’re unable to perform work.

    Benefit Payments for Intellectual Disability

    Disability with a mental health condition, including intellectual disability, pays individuals differently, depending on their particular circumstances. Benefits also vary depending on whether the person is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

    That said, in 2021 the average SSI payment for adults was $586 a month, and the average SSDI payment for adults was $1,277 a month.

    These sums are, of course, not huge, but they can be extremely beneficial in helping with daily expenses, supervisory care, and medical bills.

    Applying for Benefits With Our Social Security Disability Attorney – Virginia Beach, VA

    An individual unable to function independently and work because of their intellectual disability may qualify for either SSI or SSDI benefits. To secure these benefits, however, it is absolutely essential that their application be clearly and completely submitted to the Social Security Administration.

    In many cases, applications are rejected because they were not properly filled out or they lacked the necessary medical documentation.

    Fortunately, attorney Erick Bowman can provide the advice and assistance needed to help you secure either SSI or SSDI benefits. For over 25 years he has practiced disability law, and during that time he has helped thousands of applicants in Virginia and North Carolina secure badly needed assistance from the Social Security Administration.

    Your initial consultation is absolutely free, and if you or a loved one wants to apply for either SSI or SSDI assistance benefits, contact the law office of Erick Bowman today to schedule an appointment.


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