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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

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Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

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Facts about ADHD and Filing for Disability

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

1. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, causes hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsiveness in the affected individual's behavior. The disorder causes developmental lags, often of three to five years, in problem solving, time management, organization and planning, sustaining attention, completing tasks, impulse and emotion control, listening, and peer relationship skills. Therefore, ADHD is considered both a developmental disorder and a disruptive behavior disorder.

2. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed chronic disorder among children. Although ADHD used to be considered as only a childhood condition, more recent studies have shown that it often continues in adulthood, rather than most 'outgrowing' the condition. Many adults are only now being diagnosed with ADHD, as the disorder becomes more widely known and better understood.

3. There several types of ADHD, depending the range of symptoms. Individuals diagnosed with ADHD can be hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive, or combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive. The third is the most commonly diagnosed type of ADHD. In addition, symptoms and severity vary widely, and often another condition is also present, including oppositional defiant disorder, depression and anxiety, or being learning disabled or gifted.

4. A variety of factors are believed to contribute to the development of ADHD. Studies have shown that ADHD is largely hereditary, and that most children with a diagnosis have at least one parent or other relative who has ADHD as well. Exposure to toxins, such as cigarette smoking and lead exposure, both in the womb and early childhood are believed to also contribute to the development of ADHD.

5. There are a variety of treatment methods to manage ADHD, including prescription medications and counseling. Prescribed drug therapy includes short and long acting stimulants, one non-stimulant called atomoxetine, and occasionally antidepressants or high blood pressure medications. Counseling treatment includes talk therapy, behavior modification, and skill training. The most successful treatment involves a combination of these treatments. While often a frustrating and difficult disorder, children - and adults - with ADHD can manage the condition and be successful at school, work and social environments.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews