ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a developmental disorder affecting a person’s ability to focus, control emotions, and regulate impulses. Simply put, it affects behavior in adults and children.
More than six million children have been diagnosed with the disorder, and studies show that the number of adults with ADHD has more than doubled in the United States.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ADHD, disability benefits may be available through the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs provide benefits for mental health disorders. As Ohio’s premier disability professionals, Liner Legal Disability Lawyers put this blog together to answer the question: Is ADHD a disability?
As you read this article about ADHD and whether a mental health condition qualifies for disability benefits, you’ll also learn how much is a disability check for ADHD. Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, help is available at Liner Legal.
What is ADHD?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the most common neuropsychiatric condition diagnosed in children, but it can continue and affect adults. Approximately 60% of adults with ADHD were diagnosed with the disorder during childhood.
Doctors do not know what causes the disorder and rely on observing a patient’s symptoms to diagnose ADHD. Symptoms, which can be mild to severe, include the following:
- Lack of attention
- Inability to focus
- Irritability and mood swings
- Impulsive behavior
Someone with ADHD may have other mental health disorders, such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
There are three types of ADHD depending on the symptoms observed in a patient: Inattentive, hyperactive, or a combination of both. A proper diagnosis usually starts with a doctor observing and assessing the symptoms displayed by a child or adult and includes a mental health evaluation.
Treatment options for someone diagnosed with ADHD include medication, behavioral therapy, and counseling. Even with treatment, the symptoms of ADHD could interfere with your ability to work. If that occurs, you may be eligible for a disability check for ADHD, provided your condition qualifies as a disability according to the definition used by the Social Security Administration.
Is ADHD a disability?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ADHD is a disability. However, that does not mean a diagnosed person automatically qualifies for a disability check for ADHD through SSI or SSDI.
A diagnosis that you have ADHD does not automatically qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits. Social Security focuses on its impact on your ability to engage in the activities normally associated with work.
A person is disabled under Social Security rules if they have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment preventing them from engaging in substantial gainful activity. The impairment must last, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months.
“Substantial gainful activity” refers to the level of work-related activity performed in return for payment from an employer. Mental or behavioral activities generally associated with working include:
- Remembering instructions
- Working with others
- Communicating with co-workers.
- Following directions
- Ability to organize tasks
- Organizing and focusing on tasks
Social Security uses your monthly income to determine whether activities are “substantial and gainful.” If you work and earn at least $1,470 a month, a mental health condition is not preventing you from engaging in substantial gainful activity, so you are not disabled within the definition used by the Social Security Administration. The $1,470 is the income threshold in 2023, but it is subject to annual adjustment.
Proving that ADHD is a disability
One method Social Security uses to determine if a mental health condition is severe enough to qualify as a disability is the listing of impairments, also unofficially known as the “Blue Book.” The conditions that must be met for a neurodevelopmental disorder in children to qualify for SSI benefits are in the listing of impairments in Section 112.11. The same criteria apply to adults applying for disability benefits.
If you do not meet the listing criteria, you may qualify provided you cannot engage in substantial gainful activity. You must also be unable to do any work you did in the past, and you must be unable to transition into other types of work available in the national economy.
Learn more about your disability check for ADHD from Liner Legal
The maximum monthly disability check for ADHD through SSI is $914 for individuals in 2023. Eligible couples may receive as much as $1,371 a month. If you qualify for disability benefits through SSDI, the monthly disability check for ADHD depends on your lifetime earnings on which you paid Social Security taxes.
A consultation with a disability professional at Liner Legal Disability Lawyers can resolve any questions about whether you have the medical evidence needed to get a disability check for ADHD. Contact Liner Legal today.