Seeing your parents not recognize you is bad enough emotionally – getting the disability benefits denied for them takes a lot of financial toll on the family too.
Although dementia patients develop the disability at a later stage in their lives, sometimes the disease can develop in your 50s as well. People with dementia slowly forget things and the worse thing is they don’t even remember that they are forgetting things.
Fortunately, patients with dementia who have learning, memory, concentration, or language problems can be granted the benefits if they meet the medical requirements in the Social Security Blue Book of medical eligibility requirements.
Dementia often affects a person’s integral mental functioning, including problems in taking care of oneself, memory loss, impaired judgment, language skills and more. The most common causes of dementia are Alzheimer’s, head injury or a brain hemorrhage. Most of these symptoms last longer than a year and even get worse since it is a progressive and irrevocable disease.
If the disease prevents you from going to or performing at work for more than 12 months then you may qualify for social security disability in the list of mental impairments. Although the disease mostly develops at later stages in life as stated above, you can also apply for disability benefits even if you are not in your retirement age when the disease strikes. Once you reach the retirement age (62 to 67) your disability benefits would automatically be converted to retirement benefits.
How to know if you qualify for disability on dementia
The Social Security Administration will analyze your disability application through a thorough check of your medical records, physician statements and any other documental evidence you submitted with the application. If your symptoms meet the official list of disability impairments in the SSA’s Blue Book of impairments then you would be eligible to receive the benefits.
The list of impairments most commonly associated with dementia are listed under neurocognitive disorders. To meet the eligibility criteria, you need medical evidence to show that your disability meets the following criteria:
- Understand, remember, or apply information;
- Interact with others;
- Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace;
- Adapt or manage oneself;
- Delusions or hallucinations;
- Disorganized thinking (speech); or
- Grossly disorganized behavior or catatonia
- Planning and judgment;
- Learning and remembering (it can significantly affect performance at work and social life);
If your records indicate that you have extreme limitations in any of the following areas, the SSA will determine whether these symptoms have an adverse or severe affect on your mental health or lifestyle.
- understanding, remembering, or using information (understanding instructions, learning new things, applying new knowledge to practical tasks)
- concentrating on tasks and being able to complete tasks (at a reasonable pace)
- adapting or managing oneself (being aware of normal hazards and taking appropriate precautions, adapting to changes, having practical personal skills), and
- interacting with others
You will need to provide sufficient medical evidence to prove that these symptoms are serious and persistent i.e., you must have a medically documented history of the disease, diagnosis, symptoms and affects for the past 2 years. If the disease has just been diagnosed you can state so.