person taking a test

What to Know About Social Security Disability and Low IQ

Unfortunately, sometimes people struggle more due to having a lower intelligence quotient (IQ). Special education is not the only contributing factor to low IQ. From oxygen deprivation and strokes, to traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and learning disorders, there are many different factors that can contribute to issues with a lower IQ. 

Sadly there are not nearly enough jobs for individuals with a lower IQ. This makes it increasingly difficult for someone with a lower level of measured intelligence to work and subsequently to make enough money for even the basics necessary for survival. This is where Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits often come into play. Those who have IQ issues and therefore are unable to work can apply. 

Pre-Existing Intellectual Disorders

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has found that individuals who have these intellectual disorders may be able to qualify for SSD benefits if they meet certain requirements. For instance, in order to receive benefits the individual must have had a low IQ since before they turn 22. You can prove the existence of a low IQ prior to this age by sharing various documentation including medical documents, special education classes that were registered for and attended, and sometimes also mandated IQ tests given at an early age. 

While there is usually some type of proof of low IQ prior to age 22, the good news is that even those who lack such evidence aren’t automatically ineligible. In fact, it’s the SSA that must prove that the person in question did not have the same IQ issues before the age of 22 that they have now according to an IQ test. 

Without evidence of trauma past the age of 22, there is a rebuttable presumption that an individual’s IQ has not drastically changed from before age 22 until now. 

Adaptive Functioning

Another important factor in considering whether someone qualifies for SSD benefits is whether they have any issues with what is known as adaptive functioning, or, the ability to acclimate to different situations and to take care of what needs to be cared for. This can be demonstrated through a history of job losses during a relatively short period of time, something such as a serious difficulty with graduating high school, or even difficulty with taking care of oneself. 

In order for an individual to qualify for SSD benefits due to low IQ, he or she must either have an extreme limitation in one of the following areas or a marked limitation in two of the following areas of mental functioning.

  • The ability to understand, remember, or use information; 
  • The ability to interact with others;
  • The ability to concentrate, persist, or maintain pace; and/or
  • The ability to take care of oneself 

The PA SSD Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help

When you or a loved one is struggling with a disability that prevents you from working, you may not know what to do. Luckily, the attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP can help. We understand the financial impact that a disability can have on you and your family. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!