Is ADHD a Disability? Find Out How to Apply for Benefits Today!

Mental Health
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What is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

ADHD is a long-term neuropsychiatric illness that affects children and adults alike. Classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder, ADHD usually begins in childhood regardless of the age of the official diagnosis. Almost two-thirds of children carry their ADHD diagnosis into adulthood.

The severity of ADHD symptoms varies and frequently impairs a person’s ability to focus and complete tasks. Individuals with ADHD have easily overwhelmed coping mechanisms, and others perceive their actions as disorganized and chaotic. As a result, ADHD impacts an individual’s ability to complete educational goals, maintain interpersonal relationships, and hold down a job.

Co-occurring conditions in adults with ADHD include anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Other ADHD symptoms include;

  • Frequent mood swings
  • Intermittently aggressive
  • Impulsive actions and speech
  • Easily overwhelmed by ordinary tasks
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Trouble sustaining friendships/intimate relationships
  • Hypersensitive to noise and touch
  • A need for high stimulation
  • Easily distractible
  • Inattention to detail
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Inability to listen or follow directions
  • Performance anxiety

People not suffering from ADHD can sometimes also display some of these symptoms. However, ADHD patients must have had several symptoms since childhood that have been interfering with their lives. Children with ADHD have impulsiveness, inattention, or hyperactivity inappropriate for their age.

 People not suffering from ADHD may also manifest some of these symptoms. However, ADHD patients must have displayed several combinations of symptoms since childhood that have continually interfered with their lives. Children with ADHD exhibit excessive impulsiveness, inattention, or hyperactivity for their age.

Classification of ADHD include: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined. The disorder’s type classification merely indicates the prominence of similar symptoms.

These could point to either a higher tendency toward;

  • The inability to pay attention
  • Restless behavior and mental activity
  • Combination of both symptoms

ADHD has no known specific causes. Among the possible causes are:

  • Factors of genetic origin
  • Mother’s use of alcohol and drugs during pregnancy
  • Brain damage
  • Increased exposure to lead, food additives, and sugars

Is ADHD a Disability?

Is ADHD a disability
ADHD is a disability

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, section 504, considers ADHD a developmental disability. However, for consideration as a protected disability, ADHD has to be severe such that it interferes with a person’s daily living, including a performance at work. Furthermore, ADHD diagnosis requires a pattern of symptoms from childhood.

The individual may have received almost any accommodation provided by special education services, including behavioral therapy and one-on-one instruction, but still failed to thrive.

ADHD is a difficult diagnosis with no single test but is based mainly on other people’s observations and opinions (particularly medical opinions). As a result, the evidence for ADHD is not definite, which makes it harder to prove.

The following determines ADHD disability in adults;

  • History of prescribed medication for ADHD
  • SSA earnings
  • Employment history
  • Forms completed by family and friends
  • The activity of Daily Living forms
  • Treatment notes from a doctor
  • Forms completed by former and current employers
  • Other criteria as specified

There is no Social Security Administration (SSA) listing in the Blue Book for adults. An adult must demonstrate ADHD since childhood, i.e., before seven, and impaired gainful employment in adulthood. Otherwise, the condition passes as non-severe.

National laws also protect children suffering from ADHD by guaranteeing them appropriate and free public education. The majority of children with ADHD have learning disabilities. These children have difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, and inability to sit for long periods.

Students with ADHD qualify for accommodations such as;

  1. Assistance with organization
  2. Quiet learning environment other than the classroom
  3. Frequent breaks to move around
  4. Shorter assignments
  5. Extra time to finish projects and tests

A child with ADHD may be eligible for Federal Disability Benefit– Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The severity of ADHD needs to meet the SSA’s listing for neurodevelopmental disorders. This list is only for children under the age of 18. However, most ADHD children lack SSI benefits as only those with severe symptoms get approval for benefits. The signs also need to have lasted at least one year.

To support a disability claim, you need this additional information;

  1. Classroom reports
  2. School report forms
  3. Diagnostic evaluation
  4. Psychological testing
  5. Doctor’s psychiatric/psychological treatment notes
  6. Forms on Activity of Daily Living
  7. IQ tests to assess a learning disability)
  8. History of prescribed medication for ADHD
  9. Other specified criteria

In any case, both children and adults must meet the requirements of paragraphs A and B.

These requirements are from the SSDI/SSI listings of impairments:

Paragraph A

Admissible medical documentation that demonstrates that an ADHD patient has all three symptoms below:

  1. Pronounced inattention
  2. Pronounced hyperactivity
  3. Pronounced impulsiveness

Paragraph B

Admissible supporting documentation demonstrating that a patient has at least two out of three of the following ADHD-related conditions:

  1. Significant impairment in age-appropriate cognitive/communication function
  2. Significant impairment in age-appropriate personal functioning
  3. Marked impairment in age-appropriate social functioning

How to Apply for ADHD Social Security Disability (SSDI) Benefits

To increase your chances of approval, speak with previous employers, mental health professionals, teachers, and anyone else the Social Security Administration may contact about your condition. The emphasis is to submit information on time.

The regulations governing the treatment of adult ADHD as a condition for SSDI are somewhat ambiguous. As a result, one should consider hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer to handle their claim.

A qualified Social Security representative is familiar with and up to date on how the SSA handles adult ADHD cases. Furthermore, ADHS patients cannot navigate the appeals process effectively.

On the other hand, children are ineligible for SSDI benefits unless their parent is already receiving them. A qualified medical professional must make the diagnosis for a child to be eligible for disability benefits. Awarding SSDI benefits to children is to lessen the burden on their caregivers.

A child approved for Social Security Disability benefits will receive them until 18, after which the SSA will reevaluate the claim.

Adults and children receive benefits in the form of monthly checks. For a child with ADHD, the parent or a legal guardian accepts the checks on their behalf.


Handling finances could be an ongoing symptom for some ADHD adult patients. To ensure proper funds management, a caseworker or a disability attorney may receive the monthly checks and disburses them to the beneficiary in small amounts. If you have any questions at all about ADHD as a disability, please contact us.

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2 thoughts on “Is ADHD a Disability? Find Out How to Apply for Benefits Today!”

  1. I am a Adult with ADHD, extreme Anxiety,
    Panic attacks and diagnosed with Agoraphobia I can leave the house for short period of time but usual just have to leave grocery store or drug store when the attack starts

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