Individuals and families of those who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome may be somewhat familiar with federal benefits through the Supplemental Security Income program, which is often extended to parents and caregivers of disabled persons under age 18.
However, once that child becomes an adult, our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys understand he or she may need to apply separately for SSDI benefits. They may still qualify for SSI benefits as well, but the SSDI benefits will allow them to further hold some measure of autonomy.
Down syndrome is characterized by the presence of an extra copy of a certain chromosome. It’s one of the most common birth defects, and it causes impediments in the way both the body and brain develop.
There are two basic types of Down syndrome: Mosaic and Non-Mosaic. In non-Mosaic individuals, that extra chromosome copy appears in every single cell in the body. In Mosaic patients, that extra chromosome may be noted only in a portion of the body’s cells.
Either way, the individual may face significant impairments to work ability, though a person with a diagnosis of non-Mosaic Down syndrome – which are 98 percent of Down syndrome patients – will receive a seemingly automatic approval of SSDI benefits. However, those with Mosaic Down syndrome may have a somewhat more uphill battle.
In children with this condition, mental and social development is often impaired. Common development problems include impulsive behavior, poor judgment, slower learning and short attention spans. They may also experience poor muscle and skeletal development that may make it difficult to find some form of sustainable employment.
Even for someone with Mosaic down syndrome, all of these would factor into the increased probability of SSDI benefits.
Other problems that those with Down Syndrome in general may expect to experience are:
- Birth defects, particularly relating to the heart;
- Severe vision problems;
- Gastrointestinal dysfunction;
- Hearing problems, often prompted by regular ear infections;
- Sleep apnea;
- Chronic constipation;
- Hip dislocation or impairment;
- Teeth that appear later than usual and in locations that could cause problems with proper chewing;
Down syndrome may affect a person with varying degrees, from moderate to severe.
A person with non-Mosaic Down Syndrome is not going to have to prove the degree to which they have been affected, but someone with Mosaic Down syndrome applying for SSDI benefits will need some help building a case for it.
That will include any and all information about cognitive performance, physical impairments such as hearing or vision loss, thyroid issues, muscle weaknesses and breathing or heart disorders. Any one of these side effects of the condition may be enough to singularly qualify a Mosaic Down syndrome patient for benefits, so that combined with the original diagnosis could be sufficient to win your claim. Obviously, though, the more information you can cull together, the better.
Having an experienced SSDI attorney by your side to help you do it only serves to improve your chances.
If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
10.00 Impairments That Affect Multiple Body Systems, 10.06 Non-mosaic Down syndrome established as described in 10.00B, Social Security Administration
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SSDI List to Drop “Mental Retardation” Terminology, Feb. 7, 2013, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog