ADD and ADHD and Social Security Disability

October 25, 2010
By Louis B. Lusk on October 25, 2010 11:27 AM |

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder that affects about 3-5% of the world's children. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, distractibility, forgetfulness, and poor impulse control. To be diagnosed with ADHD, a child's symptoms must continue for at least six months and some of them must have appeared before the age of seven.

ADHD is diagnosed two to four times as frequently in boys as in girls. The cause of ADHD is unknown, but trauma and toxic exposure are known to contribute to ADHD. A combination of behavioral modification, medication, counseling, and lifestyle changes are used to manage the condition, which currently has no medical cure. 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD continue to have symptoms well into adulthood.

Winning a Social Security Disability Case on the Basis of ADHD

Social Security Disability cases filed on the basis of ADHD are difficult to win. It is not enough for a claimant to be diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed a medication. In order to win Social Security Disability benefits for ADHD, it has to be proven that the claimant is taking a medication as prescribed, but despite this, is have difficulty with age-appropriate activities, namely schoolwork.

How Claims Are Evaluated

As with every disability claim, a disability examiner at DDS (Disability Determination Services) reviews a claimant's medical records and then speaks with an in-house consultant to make a decision regarding the case. A PhD level psychologist or psychiatrist will serve as the consultant, primarily relying on the observations of teachers to determine whether a child's impairment is mild, moderate, or marked. The consultant will also evaluate a child's school records and standardized psychological testing results. There must be evidence of significant impairment in social and school functioning in order for a claimant to be approved.

To increase your chances of getting your claim approved, have your child tested for ADHD by a mental health professional. At least one diagnosis of ADHD based on testing results should exist in your child's medical records. Bear in mind that if you are a parent of a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD but your child has not been prescribed medication, your disability case has little chance of success because the examiner will assume that no doctor considered your child's ADHD problem serious enough to warrant prescription medication.

Your child should also be tested at school to determine whether or not he is a special needs student. In most cases, the examiner will not approve your claim if your child's ADHD is not significant enough to warrant placement in special needs classes. If your child performs well or at grade level in school, it is unlikely that Social Security Disability benefits will be awarded.

Getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits on the basis of ADHD can be extremely difficult. To maximize the chances of approval, contact an experienced disability attorney to assist you.