social security disability

Social Security Disability and Low IQ

Unfortunately, with a lower IQ, there are fewer jobs that an individual is qualified for. Therefore, for many individuals with low IQ, it becomes very difficult to work – or at the very least to earn enough money to provide for life’s basics (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) That’s why Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be so important for those who have IQ issues and cannot work.

Unfortunately, there are many things that may contribute to lower IQ issues. These include:

  • Oxygen deprivation (at birth or later)
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Strokes
  • Learning disorders/special education

Must Have Low IQ Prior to Age 22

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), these issues with lower IQ are referred to as “intellectual disorders” and may qualify the individual for SSD benefits. However, in order to qualify for these benefits the individual must have had low IQ prior to the age of 22. You can usually prove that this was the case by providing records (e.g. special education classes you were in or medical documentation). Many children are also mandated to take IQ tests when they are in elementary school, so this may help to prove your pre-existing IQ issues.

Although most people will have some type of documentation to prove that they had an intellectual disability prior to the age of 22, those who do not are not automatically banned from receiving SSD benefits. In fact, federal court cases have shown that so long as the claimant has evidence of their intellectual disability as an adult through an IQ test, the SSA has the burden of proving that the individual did not have the same cognitive limitations prior to the age of 22. 

In other words, so long as there is no evidence demonstrating that a sudden trauma after the age of 22 led to the intellectual disability, there is a rebuttable presumption that the individual had a somewhat consistent IQ throughout the course of his or her lifetime. 

Issues with Adaptive Functioning

Another factor that the SSA will take into consideration is whether or not you have issues with “adaptive functioning.” This may include evidence that you have a history of losing multiple jobs in a short period of time or that you had severe difficulty learning to drive or graduating from high school. It may also include something as simple as you have difficulty taking care of yourself.

The SSA requires that the claimant have an extreme limitation in one of the following areas of mental functioning, or a “marked” limitation in two of the following areas:

  • The ability to understand, remember, or use information (exercise judgment, plan, learn new things, apply new knowledge to tasks, and/or the ability to understand instructions);
  • The ability to interact with others (ability to use socially appropriate behaviors)
  • The ability to concentrate, persist, or maintain pace (ability to complete tasks); and/or
  • The ability to take care of oneself (distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable work performance, maintain attire appropriate to a work setting, take appropriate precautions in relation to hazards).

The Las Vegas SSD Attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC Can Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with a cognitive limitation or another disability that prevents the ability to work, you may not know how to proceed. Fortunately, the attorneys at Roeschke Law, LLC can help. We understand the impact that a disability can have on your physical, emotional, and financial health. That’s why it’s our mission to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!