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Social Security Disability for Mental Retardation

Although the Social Security Administration offers benefits for both physical and mental disabilities, most experts agree that it’s harder to secure benefits for the latter. Even though mental disabilities can be just as severe as physical ones, it can be harder for other people to properly evaluate them in an objective way.

Within the category of mental disabilities, Social Security disability benefits can be obtained for mental retardation. While obtaining Social Security disability benefits for mental retardation can be a challenge, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It’s important to understand the SSA’s view of this mental health issue, as well as how their evaluation process works.

The Social Security Administration and Mental Retardation

Social Security uses the term mental retardation to refer to below average intellectual capabilities that manifests during an individual’s developmental period. Because the latter component is an important characteristic of this condition, the SSA wants proof that mental retardation occurred before the age of 22.

The general IQ range for mental retardation is 70 and less. The amount of additional evidence needed to build a strong case for a mental disability claim depends on how low someone’s IQ is. For example, an IQ test of 59 or less can be sufficient evidence on its own, while an IQ test in the 60 to 70 range generally requires accompanying evidence showing an additional limitation that’s significant and prevents someone from working.

The Most Common Reasons Mental Retardation Claims Are Denied

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There are two primary reasons why this claim may be denied. The first is being unable to prove that mental retardation occurred before the age of 22. For someone who’s in their 30s, 40s or 50s, this may result from being unable to find enough evidence from the earlier stages of their life.

The other reason is because a mental impairment doesn’t fully meet the guidelines of mental retardation. With either reason for denial, it may still be possible to secure benefits upon appeal. The key to doing so is knowing how to properly present a case to show an inability to work. That can be done even if an applicant can’t fully demonstrate their mental retardation or doesn’t meet the exact guidelines for this condition.

While there are generally multiple ways to approach a case, figuring out the most effective way can be a challenge. That’s why it’s a good idea to work with an experienced disability attorney.

If you or a loved one plan to pursue Social Security disability for mental retardation, a disability attorney may be able to help. Call the law firm of Lisa M. Ritacco at 877-459-4799 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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