Through the nearly 40 years I have handled Social Security Disability cases, I have seen a lot of claims. A great many of these claims have involved some type of mental disease or defect, which can come in many forms. One of the most common forms of mental illness from a disability perspective and is often overlooked are those people who are totally dependent upon others for their day-to-day care and functioning, both physically and financially. There can be many different reasons for this dependency.
Some people have an organic mental disorder that they have suffered from since birth or that originates from some trauma in life which has caused a physical dysfunction of their brain making it impossible to function independently. There also are people who suffer from mental issues or have been victims of abuse or neglect that develop schizophrenic, paranoid, or psychotic symptoms that necessitate a responsible adult tending to their day-to-day wants and needs.
There are many other people who also fit the dependency category who don’t fit into a “Social Security Listing of Impairment.” The single most common characteristics of people we work with who need continued support from adult family members or other sources are people who are socially immature, have lower intellectual functioning, and make child-like impulsive decisions that cause harm to themselves or their finances.
Social Security regulations concerning mental illness do touch on this problem and, generally speaking, if a person has a history of one or more years of the inability to function outside a highly supported living arrangement and have a continued necessity for this support and treatment should be considered for disability according to the “Listing of Impairments” that form a part of the Social Security Disability process.
If a person has additional incapacity to perform tasks of daily living such as toileting, eating, dressing or bathing, they can be considered disabled if these are properly documented. If there is a marked impairment in performing activities of daily living, the person can be considered disabled.
People who have a disability requiring supervision of a responsible adult at all times can qualify for both SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSD (Social Security Disability) depending on the facts of each individual claim.
There is not a hard and fast rule as to what makes a good case for a dependency disability and that is why our staff is trained on what symptoms and conditions could cause a dependency disability and know what evidence is needed to document the nature and extent of this type of disability to the fullest prior to having a disability determination from the Social Security Administration or an Administrative Law Judge.
If you or someone you know suffers from a mental or psychiatric disorder that requires them to rely on others for their day to day care, please contact us at (800) 842-0426 for a free Social Security Disability Evaluation.