Living with dementia can be devastating. It can make performing normal daily activities difficult or impossible. The long-term loss of quality of life is challenging for people living with a disability. Many people who have dementia are unable to work, which can make managing and living with a severe medical condition even more overwhelming.
Fortunately, people who have a disability that is expected to last at least a year may be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program administered by the SSA that supports disabled individuals who have a qualifying work history, either through their own employment or a family member. You may be eligible for SSDI benefits if your symptoms prevent you from working and you have worked in the past. The SSDI program is a kind of insurance policy managed by the federal government that is available to people with qualifying disabilities and have earned benefits by paying into the system through prior work taxed by the government.
Dementia is defined by the National Institute on Aging as “the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.” While the term is often used to describe a specific condition, it is better characterized by many types of cognitive disorders. One common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. This degenerative disease results in a rapid decline in neurological function. People who have Alzheimer’s disease experience a sharp decline in memory function, as well as a host of other issues.
These issues can include trouble remembering new information, significant changes in mood, change in personality, disorientation, and difficulty interacting with others. Advanced stages often leave a person unable to recognize loved ones, perform basic hygiene, or recall information about the past. Qualifying for disability benefits due to dementia will depend on several factors. The SSA verifies all aspects of an applicant’s medical and work history before making a determination about disability benefits.
Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal condition, and it will progressively make a person disabled. People with Alzheimer’s disease will commonly experience other types of dementia simultaneously. An example of mixed dementia is Alzheimer’s disease with vascular dementia, arising from stroke or brain injuries that significantly impact brain function and behavior. People who have vascular dementia may experience a loss of motor skills that will not recover over time.
Getting Disability Benefits for Dementia
Whether a person is eligible for SSDI benefits due to dementia will depend on whether the individual meets the requirements of the SSA’s Blue Book. The Blue Book is a listing of disabling impairments and the criteria that claimants who suffer from a disabling condition can meet to establish eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. People who have Alzheimer’s will need to prove that they experience frequent memory loss, disorientation, or changes in behavior.
The SSA may consider you disabled if you meet the specific requirements in its listing of impairments. If your diagnosed condition is not specifically among those listed in the Blue Book, the SSA may alternatively grant benefits based on your residual functional capacity.
The bottom line is that you may be entitled to disability benefits if you are no longer capable of working because of dementia.
To establish entitlement to benefits, you should have medical evidence showing your inability in some of the following areas:
Can You Get Disability for Dementia?
The SSA denies over half of first-time applications for SSDI benefits. The most common reason for a claim to be rejected is a lack of adequate medical evidence of disability. Since dementia is degenerative and affects cognitive ability, people who suffer from any type of dementia should have a representative on their side when filing for SSDI benefits. SSDI lawyers can apply for benefits on behalf of their clients. These experienced professionals understand the requirements associated with filing for benefits and will work to gather evidence and fill out paperwork. When SSDI benefits are necessary to maintain your financial support, it is essential to consult with an SSDI attorney.
File a Claim for Social Security Disability Dementia With Us!
Filing a disability claim correctly is not an easy task. Our disability lawyers are highly experienced, and they can help complete the process for you. With us, even appealing denials become hassle-free. At Chermol & Fishman, we have excellent disability attorneys to help you get the right benefits you deserve for your disability due to Dementia.
Mr. Chermol is a Founding and Lead Partner at the disability law firm of Chermol & Fishman, LLC. He represents Social Security disability and SSI claimants across the United States both at the administrative level and in federal court
From 1997 until 2007, Mr. Chermol was as an Assistant Regional Counsel for the Social Security Administration’s Office of the General Counsel in Philadelphia.