Dementia and Social Security Disability Benefits

Most people think of “dementia” as a specific disease, but it’s actually an umbrella term for several types of conditions involving cognitive decline. These include Alzheimer’s Disease, (the most common) Lewy Body Dementia, and Vascular Dementia.

These conditions are characterized by changes in normal brain functioning that disrupt cognitive abilities. Any one of these conditions can lead to problems with everyday life and a person’s independence. They can also impact the person’s behavior, relationships, and feelings.

Short term memory problems appear first, leaving someone unable to take care of normal daily tasks such as:

• Paying bills
• Getting dressed in the morning
• cooking their own meals
• Traveling
• Remembering things like doctor’s appointments

At first, these symptoms might be subtle. Eventually, they will become so pronounced that can cause problems for someone who is employed. Impairments in judgment, language skills, and personality will, over time, prevent someone from continuing working.

What Causes Dementia?

Alzheimer’s, stroke, brain hemorrhage, and other head injuries can lead to dementia. While dementia is most likely to strike elderly patients, the onset of dementia symptoms can affect anyone at any age. A neuropsychological evaluation by a physician can determine if a patient does have dementia.

Well, there is no cure for dementia, there are treatments available that can help with symptoms and delay the eventual decline.

Qualifying For Social Security disability

Like any condition, Social Security Requires that a person meet the qualifications for “disability.” This means that dementia has progressed to the point where a person’s functionality has decreased to the point where they are unable to work, either in a previous occupation, or any other occupation.

Social Security lists dementia under their disability listing 12.02 for neurocognitive disorders.

The most common qualification for dementia is if it prevents someone from working for 12 months or longer or will end in death. However. It is also possible to apply for Social Security benefits if the person is under the age of retirement. The difference is that once the person reaches their full retirement age, from 62 to 67, the disability benefits would then be converted to retirement benefits.

Medical evidence is required to show that dementia interferes with a person’s ability to:

• Understand, apply, and/or remember information
• Learn and remember
• Interact with others
• Planning and judgment
• Manager and/or adapt themselves
• Concentrate and maintain a pace.

Other criteria include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and or speech, catatonia, and highly disorganized behavior.

To show that someone has the symptoms of this ailment, they will also need sufficient medical evidence and a medically documented history to support the claim of disability from dementia

Compassionate Care

More than 240 conditions, including this one, qualify to fall under Social Security’s “compassionate care” category. Because qualification for disability can take months or years, these conditions are fast-tracked to be approved in a short period of time, sometimes in just weeks.  Just like any other condition, an applicant must have sufficient medical information and documentation to prove disability. Once Social Security receives this information, no additional steps are required to be approved for the benefits period. Because dementia and other conditions are chronic and severely disabling, applicants don’t have to go through a long process to receive benefits.

Houston’s Social Security Disability Insurance Attorney

If you or a loved one are dealing with dementia, it is possible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) once a diagnosis is received and get the required documentation. Working with a disability attorney who understands Social Security’s processes can ensure that your application is done correctly, especially in light of the compassionate care category for dementia.

We’ve helped over 4,000 Houstonians get SSDI and other disability benefits. The Herren Law Firm in Houston, TX can assist with your application, appeals, and records gathering to prove your case, and win your claim. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation and no up-front fees, and we only collect a fee if we win your case.

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