Are Adults with ADHD or ADD Eligible for Disability Benefits?

May 9, 2017
Dayes Law Firm

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), also known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is a chronic neuropsychiatric disorder that can affect both children and adults.

The condition can range from moderate to extreme, which can interfere with an individual’s ability to complete educational goals, retain a job and sustain interpersonal relationships.

Those suffering from ADHD or ADD often experience symptoms that include:

  • Physical restlessness
  • Short attention span
  • Inability to listen and follow directions
  • Anxiety
  • Inattention to detail
  • Impulsive speech and actions
  • Performance anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

In their extreme form, these symptoms can prevent an individual from being able to maintain work. If that is the case, the individual may be able to obtain Social Security Disability benefits because they have ADHD.

ADHD Children’s Listing

In all cases, ADHD begins during childhood. Because of this, the Social Security Administration (SSA) includes ADHD in its Blue Book of impairment listings. Unfortunately, the listing only applies to children with ADHD.

However, because ADHD causes the same symptoms in adults and children, it may help you to obtain benefits if your condition meets the requirements of the children’s listing.

The listing requires medical documentation of all of the following:

  • Marked hyperactivity
  • Marked impulsiveness
  • Marked inattention

You must also have medical documentation of marked impairment in at least two of the following age-appropriate abilities:

  • Personal functioning
  • Social functioning
  • Cognitive or communication functioning

Obtaining Benefits as an Adult

However, having an official diagnosis of ADHD and meeting the requirements of the children’s listing likely will not be enough to qualify you for disability benefits. You will have to prove to the SSA that your condition is so severe that it prevents you from working.

To do this, the SSA will conduct a mental residual functional capacity test to assess the level of work you can perform and determine if you are able to hold any type of work.

You will also have to provide detailed documentation of your medical condition.

Medical Documentation of ADHD

Because ADHD is a subjective diagnosis with no single test to identify the condition, the SSA will require strong evidence supporting your claim. This could include:

  • Records from a psychologist or psychiatrist with your diagnosis and detailed descriptions of your condition, including doctor’s notes and questionnaires
  • Documentation of the treatments you have undergone and how they affected your condition
  • Information from a former employer detailing how the symptoms of your condition prevented you from being able to perform the duties required of your job
  • Academic records from when you were a child showing poor performance in school as a result of your condition

When submitting your application, you should include as much documentation as possible about your condition and the effects it has on your life.

It is not uncommon for adults with ADHD to suffer from additional psychological conditions, such as anxiety disorder, depression and bipolar disorder. It may be possible for you to obtain disability benefits if you meet the requirements for any of these listings in the SSA’s Blue Book.

Help Submitting Your Application

Because ADHD can be a tricky diagnosis to connect to a disability, it may be in your best interest to work with a disability attorney when filing your claim.

Your attorney will work to ensure your application for benefits is complete and that all supporting information detailing your diagnosis and its impacts are included.

Should your application for benefits be denied, your attorney will guide you through the appeals process, working to secure the benefits you deserve.

If you require assistance filing your disability claim concerning your ADHD or ADD diagnosis, contact Dayes Law Firm PC. Our disability experts will work to support your ADHD claim, seeing your through the application and appeals process so you can recover the benefits you’re entitled.

Call 1-800-503-2000 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form today.