Many people who are born with Down Syndrome will not have a problem collecting Social Security disability payments. Over 90 percent of diagnosed cases of Down Syndrome are considered “non-mosaic,” meaning every cell has an extra 21st chromosome—automatically qualifying the individual as disabled by Social Security Administration standards.
However, many individuals may be diagnosed with “mosaic” Down syndrome, meaning only some of their cells have an extra chromosome while others do not. Since people with mosaic Down syndrome often rate more highly on IQ tests, they may not automatically meet the SSA’s disability qualifications.
Do You Qualify for Down Syndrome Disability Payments?
Unlike the majority of sufferers, a person who has been diagnosed with mosaic Down syndrome will have to prove that the condition is sufficiently disabling before he can receive benefits. This may include providing evidence of specific mental and physical limitations that prevent him from earning a living, such as:
- Heart problems
- Hearing loss
- Muscle weakness
- Sleep apnea or other breathing disorders
- Thyroid disorders
- Cognitive difficulties
- Speech problems
Estimating Your Reduced Functional Capacity
If an applicant has been diagnosed with mosaic Down syndrome but his disabling conditions aren’t considered severe, he may still be able to get benefits based on his reduced functional capacity (RFC). This is a measurement used by the SSA to determine how limited a person is when performing work activities based on his physical condition.
The SSA will look at a number of factors to calculate a person’s functional capacity—including IQ test results, physical stamina, sensory responses, and other conditions that may prevent the individual from working (or working enough to earn a sustainable living). If a person’s RFC is above average, his claim will likely be denied even though it may be difficult for him to find a job.
If someone in your family is having trouble filing for disability benefits, we may be able to help. Click the chat link on the bottom of this page to ask us a question about your case.