Getting disability benefits for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is difficult but not impossible. To qualify for benefits, a child must have all three symptoms of ADHD: severe inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity, that causes limiting “conditions resulting from ADHD.”
There are two sets of conditions to qualify for benefits, one for children under three, the other for children 3 to 18.
For children 3-18, to receive SSI disability benefits based on ADHD, they must have severe difficulty compared to other children of their age in at least two of the four following areas, resulting from ADHD:
- Cognitive or communicative functions
- Social functioning
- Personal functioning
- Concentration, persistence, or pace
For each of these conditions resulting from ADHD, there must be supporting documentation that includes:
- Medical findings, such as treatment notes written by a doctor, mental health professional, or staff professionals at a mental health facility
- Historical information from parents and teachers, such as teacher reports and evaluations
- Results of standardized testing, such as achievement testing and IQ testing
For children under three, the requirements are similar, but are based on limited development in most of the above areas, plus having gross and fine motor development that is usually found in children half the child’s chronological age or younger.
Disability Evaluation for ADHD
To determine disability with ADHD, a disability claims examiner at DDS (Disability Determination Services) within the Social Security Administration reviews a claimant’s medical records and then, after speaking with an in-house medical consultant, makes a decision on the case.
The consultant is not a medical doctor, but, rather, a Ph.D. level psychologist or a psychiatrist, who reads a claimant’s school records and results of psychological testing and renders a professional opinion as to whether or not the impairment is mild, moderate, or marked (severe), an opinion which may or may not agree with the opinion of the disability claims examiner.
How to Win ADHD Disability Benefits
To win disability benefits based on ADHD, in most cases it must be shown that the child is taking medication as prescribed and, despite this, is having significant difficulties with various age-appropriate activities–mainly grade-level school work. A child’s medical records must have at least one diagnosis of ADHD based on testing results from a mental health professional for a case to be considered credible.