Slepian Smith, PLLC

Are learning disabilities eligible for disability benefits?

Millions of adults and children across the country have been diagnosed with a learning disability, from dyslexia to language processing disorders.

While it might seem as though a learning disability would be a disabling condition for the purposes of government benefits, the fact is that this is not always the case.

Disability benefits and learning disabilities

The Social Security Administration maintains two separate lists of disabling conditions: one for children and one for adults. For both adults and children, learning disabilities could fall under the mental disorders category.

However, just because a condition appears in these lists does not automatically qualify a person with the condition for benefits. There are complex and specific criteria that an applicant must meet, and even then, the SSA may decide that a condition is not severe enough to prevent person from working.

Further, it is important to note that there are numerous resources and medications available that can help people cope with a learning disability. And adults with disabilities like dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, dyscalculia or visual motor deficits are often able to work in capacities that do not require them to read, have a long attention spans, use numbers or draw.

Determining disability

To determine whether the condition is disabling, the SSA will review a person's medical and treatment records to determine if the condition is expected to last for at least a year and interferes with a person's mental functioning. They will then decide if a person is eligible for benefits.

It is important to know that seeking benefits for learning disabilities is complicated, and there are complex systems in place that a person will need to navigate to apply for these benefits. Considering the challenges people with learning disabilities already struggle with, working with an attorney to complete an application or file an appeal for a denied claim can be in an applicant's best interests.

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