25th Anniversary
Lifestyles for the Disabled
930 Willowbrook Road
Building 12-G
Staten Island, NY 10314


Qualifying for Social Security with an Intellectual Disability

Posted by lifestylesforthedisabled1 / October 3, 2019

Qualifying for Social Security with an Intellectual Disability


If your child or family member has an intellectual disability, he or she might be eligible for financial assistance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly resources for people with disabilities who are unable to work.  Intellectual disabilities often medically qualify, but technical eligibility is usually a little more challenging. People with intellectual disabilities will qualify for SSI benefits, which have strict financial limitations.


Applying on Behalf of an Adult:


It’s usually easier to apply for SSI on behalf of an adult with intellectual disabilities. The SSA requires that SSI recipients aren’t earning more than $750 per month in 2018 from working. Additionally, SSI recipients can’t have more than $2,000 saved. The good news is that if your family member lives with you, your own income and resources won’t be counted towards these limitations.


Applying on Behalf of a Child:


It’s a little harder for children to qualify for SSI because a parent’s income will be evaluated on behalf of the child. While you can have more than $2,000 saved up, the SSA does have income limits on how much you can earn per month. For example, a two-parent household with three children (one of whom has an intellectual disability) cannot earn much more than $55,000 per year while still qualifying.


The good news is that as soon as your child turns 18 your household income will no longer count against your child, even if she still lives at home with you. You can view your family’s specific household income limit online.


Medically Qualifying with an Intellectual Disability


The SSA refers to its own medical guide, known as the Blue Book, when determining whether or not an applicant qualifies for disability benefits. General intellectual disabilities are listed under Section 12.05 of the Blue Book. Under this listing, there are two ways to qualify.


  1. Your loved one has both of the following symptoms:


  • Significantly low intellectual functioning leaving her unable to participate in standardized tests or evaluations
  • Difficulty functioning alone and reliance on others for personal needs, such as using the restroom or eating


  1. The second listing is a little more complicated. First you’ll need to prove that your loved one either has an IQ lower than 70 or an IQ score between 71 and 75, plus a verbal performance IQ score of 70 or below.


Additionally, your loved one needs to be able to show “extreme” limitations in one or moderate limitations in two of the following areas:


  • Understanding, remembering, and applying new information
  • Interacting with others
  • Concentrating and completing tasks
  • “Managing” oneself, which means controlling tempers and emotions


Both ways to qualify require that an applicant has a disability that started before age 22.


Starting Your Application


You can start the process online, but all SSI applicants must finish applying in person (or have a family member apply on their behalf) at their local SSA office. There are more than 20 SSA office locations in Alabama. You can schedule an appointment to apply on behalf of a child or loved one by calling the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213. Most claims are evaluated within three to five months.


Helpful Resources:

The SSA’s Website: https://www.ssa.gov/

Lifestyles for the Disabled: https://www.lfdsi.org/participant-opportunities/

SSI Income Limits: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-child-ussi.htm

Blue Book for Intellectual Disabilities: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/12.00-MentalDisorders-Adult.htm#12_05

Alabama SSA Offices: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations/alabama

Apply Online: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *