In my experience as a disability attorney representing children and their families, I find it especially beneficial to submit certain types documentation of a child's disabilities to the SSA. These records can include, but are not limited to:
- Medical records from treating physicians, especially specialists, who treat the child for any physical or mental impairments.
- Written statements from treating physicians concerning the severity of the child's disabling condition
- Report cards
- IQ tests
- Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plans developed at the child's school
- Written statements from teachers concerning the child's academic progress and behavior
- Behavior reports, written progress reports, and other written correspondence from the child's teacher
For each of my clients, I request that the treating physicians complete questionnaires that are designed to show Social Security's disability adjudicators that the child fits the SSA's definition of disability. Many of these questionnaires refer to the "Listing of Impairments." The Listings are contained in a manual the SSA publishes; they detail various physical and mental conditions the SSA considers disabling. Learning disabilities are caused by a wide range of mental and developmental impairments, and most of these conditions are addressed in the Listing of Children's Impairments, Section 112: Mental Impairments. If the child's treating physician's answers to the Listing questionnaires support our contention that his patient meets Social Security's listings, it can help in winning the disability claim.
Another type of questionnaire I have developed addresses the child's capabilities in six "domains" that the SSA uses to determine how the child's impairments affect his performance in six important areas of daily functioning. If the SSA finds that the child either has "marked" limitations in two of these domains or "extreme" limitations in one of them, it is likely that the SSA will find the child disabled.
I have represented many children with learning disabilities. Many of these children have received low IQ scores in testing performed by their schools or their doctors. They typically require special accommodations from their school, and often they are not in the appropriate grade for their age because they have been held back. SSI benefits may be available for families with children suffering from learning disabilities, and many representatives like myself will work on a contingency basis to help them get the benefits they deserve.