The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that a medically documented case of mental impairment, such as low IQ, can be a disability qualifying for benefits. While many people with a low IQ disability can sometimes work full time positions and maintain gainful employment, there are still those that have difficulty holding a job due to the condition.
Qualifying for Disability by Low IQ
In the SSA Blue Book listing for impairments the government has recognized intellectual disorder as one of the impairments. The listing formerly called it mental retardation and later intellectual disability, but they have changed the name to be more encompassing for the conditions that qualify.
If a person’s condition meets the listing requirements then they automatically qualify for the disability benefit. Approval may take awhile, and depending on the SSA benefits program that would cover the person, other eligibility criteria must be met as well.
The Blue Book Listing Requirements
For those that have an IQ tested to be below 71, and also have shown issues with social interaction, self care, comprehension or focusing on tasks then meeting the following requirements will qualify them for benefits:
– The condition must have been evident before they reached the age of 22
– The full scale IQ score must be below 71 (70 or lower) unless they score a 70 or lower on either the verbal or performance scores with the full scale score being 75 or lower
– A severe limitation must exist under at least one of the following categories as well:
Understanding and remembering information.
Social interaction and maintaining appropriate behavior.
Managing self care to include preservation from harm and hygiene.
Focusing on completion of tasks.
For those that don’t meet the above criteria, the SSA may still approve benefits based on the inclusion of other needs. The SSA may prepare what they call a mental residual function capacity (MRFC) to determine if benefits may still be provided. The MRFC determines if the applicant can function socially, conduct one- and two-step work, and the ability to follow simple steps to complete tasks.
When applying it’s important to include the proper evidence to show that the listing requirements are met. This includes doctor reports, copies of psychological testing and job descriptions for any employment that may have been held by the applicant. For many people the best course of action is to acquire legal assistance from an experienced attorney, as they can be sure the proper documentation is supplied and that the application is filled out and filed appropriately.