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Can My Adult Child Receive Social Security Benefits Due to a Mental Disability?

Posted on in Denied Social Security Benefits

Chicago Social Security disability lawyerAn intellectual disability can leave a person just as unable to work as a physical impairment or chronic illness. In many cases a person with a low IQ or who otherwise demonstrates “subaverage general intellectual functioning” may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. But as is often the case with disability claims, Social Security officials tend to disregard evidence of an applicant’s intellectual impairments in a rush to deny benefits.

Social Security Thinks Adult With “Fourth Grade” Education Capable of Full-Time Work

In a recent case, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ordered Social Security to reconsider the disability claim of a woman in her 20s who suffers from a “serious intellectual disability.” According to the applicant’s mother, she has had severe learning difficulties since she was a toddler. The applicant’s IQ is believed to be between 70 and 75. (Social Security guidelines consider an IQ below 60 as absolute proof of an intellectual disability.)

More to the point, although the applicant “completed” high school, she is “functioning at only a fourth-grade level in math, fifth grade in reading, and seventh grade in writing.” The applicant continues to live with her mother as an adult. The mother told Social Security that her daughter cannot dress or wash herself. The daughter is unable to perform “simple chores” around the house without repeated instruction and supervision. Indeed, the daughter “doesn’t know how to mail a letter,” according to the mother.

Despite all this, Social Security still denied the applicant’s claim for benefits after an administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that she was somehow capable of performing “routine, unskilled work at a fourth or fifth grade level.” On appeal, the Seventh Circuit flat-out rejected the ALJ’s reasoning. Judge Richard Posner, writing for the court, said the ALJ’s conclusions had “no basis in the record,” and even if they did, “one doesn’t need child‐labor laws (though we have them) to realize that an adult with no greater capability for full‐time work than a fourth‐or fifth‐grader is incapable of full‐time gainful employment.”

While the ALJ said the applicant could possibly work as a “cleaner, assembler, hand picker, or machine feeder,” Judge Posner said there were at least five witnesses who testified to the contrary. But apparently the ALJ did not bother to look at the evidence all that carefully—Judge Posner noted the Social Security official “twice referred in his opinion to [the applicant] as male,” when of course she was female.

Get Help From a Chicago Social Security Disability Insurance Attorney

This appears to be one of the more egregious cases of a Social Security official ignoring overwhelming evidence of an applicant’s disability. Unfortunately, the Seventh Circuit’s decision is just the latest in a long line of rulings that seem to have fallen on deaf ears at Social Security. That is why if you are seeking disability benefits it is imperative you not confront Social Security alone. An experienced Chicago disability benefits lawyer can assist you at all stages of dealing with Social Security, from application to appeal. Contact Pearson Disability Law, LLC, today if you need to speak with an attorney right away.




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