Can I Get SSI Benefits If I Was in Special Education?

by Jan 9, 2019Disability Benefits

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You can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if you were in special education at school. But the fact that you required special education classes or struggled academically does not on its own guarantee your eligibility for SSI. You may submit your academic records as supporting documentation to bolster your claim that you deserve benefits for your mental impairment. A Social Security disability lawyer can help you put together a strong application for benefits.

Getting approved for SSI is not an easy task: Roughly two-thirds of applicants are denied on the first try. The more evidence you submit in support of your claim, the better your chances are. Usually, it takes more than one piece of evidence (such as your being in special education classes) to convince Social Security that you qualify for benefits. A lawyer from Disability Advantage Group can review your situation and help you submit a strong claim. Call 865-566-0800 for a free consultation.

Receiving SSI for Mental Impairments

SSI provides benefits for a number of medical conditions, both mental and physical. The Social Security Blue Book lists all the conditions that receive automatic consideration for benefits. If you have a condition in the Blue Book, you can get approved for SSI by showing evidence that your diagnosis meets the criteria in the listing. If your condition does not appear in the Blue Book, you may submit evidence that it impacts you the same as a Blue Book condition.

The Blue Book lists several mental impairments eligible for SSI benefits. These include:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Intellectual disorder (IQ scores below 70)
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Neurocognitive disorder (including IQ scores between 71 and 84)

If you are applying for SSI for any of these conditions, your academic transcripts, including records of any special education classes, are an essential part of your supporting documentation. They can show that your condition impacted your functional capacity to such a degree that you were not capable of learning in a regular classroom and required special arrangements to get through school.

If you have a mental impairment not featured in the Blue Book, your special education records are even more important. The burden is on you to convince Social Security that the functional impact of your disability is similar to that of a Blue Book condition. Making this case requires compelling evidence. By showing that you required special education classes, you can demonstrate a real, measurable impact on your functional capacity.

Receiving SSI for Psychological Disorders

Even if your IQ is normal, you may have a psychological disorder that impacts your ability to sustain meaningful, gainful employment. Psychological disorders listed in the Blue Book and eligible for SSI include:

Many students with these conditions require special education not because they cannot handle the academic workload of a regular class, but because they struggle to function in a regular school or classroom and require more individualized attention and care.

If you were in special education because of a psychological disorder, your school records can bolster your claim that you struggle to maintain gainful employment. After all, if you found it difficult to get through school as a child, it stands to reason that work is equally challenging as an adult.

Receiving SSI for Brain Injuries

There is a third category of disabilities for which school records offer evidence of your eligibility for SSI. If you suffered a brain injury, either as a child, teen, or adult, and cannot work or earn a living because of it, your school records can shed light on the impact of your injury.

As an example, suppose you suffered a brain injury at age 15. Before your injury, you were in regular classes, making good grades and having little trouble keeping up with your schoolwork. But when you returned to school from your brain injury, you found it difficult to focus and concentrate, and your academic performance declined. In response, you switched to special education classes, where you could receive extra help with your work.

In this scenario, your school records from before and after your injury paint a vivid picture of a marked decline in academic performance directly attributable to the brain trauma you suffered.

Call 865-566-0800 for a Free Disability Consultation From Disability Advantage Group

The Social Security disability lawyers at Disability Advantage Group want to help you apply for and receive benefits. If you were in special education classes as a child and now struggle to sustain gainful employment as an adult, we can use your school records to show you qualify for SSI. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, call us today at 865-566-0800.