SSDI Vital for People with Intellectual Disabilities

July 31st, 2017 by Attorney John Colvin

Tennessee SSD Lawyer

People with intellectual disabilities (ID) account for about one-fifth of the United States population. ID is a broad category that includes autism, Down syndrome and other disorders that severely limit one’s ability to interact with others, to learn, or to function independently.

ID begins during childhood. Before the age of 18, children with disabilities may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they have a parent who is collecting SSDI or Supplemental Security Income or if their deceased parent was eligible for those benefits. If their family meets the income requirements for SSI, children with disabilities may receive SSI.

Once children turn 18, the Social Security Administration requires them to meet the criteria for disability in adulthood to receive SSI or SSDI. In determining whether an applicant qualifies for SSI, the SSA does not consider the family’s income unless the child continues to live at home with parents.

While many people with ID want to work and to be independent, their disability may render them incapable of meeting job requirements. But with SSDI, people with ID have the opportunity to move out of their parents’ home, to live with others, and to work in some capacity.

Jobs for People With ID

People who don’t have an intellectual disability may not realize that even the most basic jobs can be quite challenging for someone with ID. Aside from limiting one’s ability to learn and apply information, ID may also be accompanied by physical impairments.

Fortunately, for adults who want to work and are able to, these employment structures give them that opportunity:

  • Supported employment – This type of employment allows the worker to receive some form of support, whether that’s working alongside a mentor or as part of a crew.
  • Sheltered workshops – These are often basic, task-oriented jobs, performed in a protective group environment, that help people develop job skills and life skills.
  • Secured/segregated employment – Workers with disabilities are separate from the rest of the workforce (for example, working together as a team in a warehouse).

Employers may also hire someone with a disability and request authorization from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay subminimum wage, which can be as little as $4.25 an hour. To qualify for that wage rate, an employer must provide evidence of the standard fair-market wage for the job and must prove that the person with the disability would be unable to meet productivity expectations of the job.

Rarely would any of these employment structures provide enough income for someone to live independently. And it’s unlikely that people working in such a job would earn more than the $1,950 per month, which is considered substantial gainful activity (the point at which the SSA considers beneficiaries ineligible for benefits).

SSDI is an essential support for adults with intellectual disabilities, but some families encounter frustration at having to prove an adult child has a disability, when their condition has existed since childhood. Occasionally, the SSA denies claims for people who’ve had a disability their entire life, based on a technical detail.

John R. Colvin, Attorney at Law, has successfully helped families navigate the SSD application process. He has also assisted people whose disability benefits applications were denied. For 20 years, he has been helping victims put their lives back on track and he is ready to help you. For advice on how to proceed next or if you have any questions about this topic, call 1-931-962-1044 or submit this online form. Put his bold approach and client focus to work for you.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama