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  • Christopher Le

The Transition from Childhood Disability to Adult Struggles: Why Prior Disability Doesn't Guarantee

Is it easier to be approved for disability as an adult if I was on disability as a child?

The journey from being disabled as a minor to filing for disability as an adult can be a challenging process, and many individuals wonder whether their prior disability status will expedite their approval. However, it's important to dispel the common misconception that being disabled as a minor automatically enhances your chances of being approved for disability as an adult. In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons why a history of disability in childhood doesn't necessarily bolster your case during the adult disability application process.

The SSA's Evaluation Criteria:

The Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses disability claims based on specific criteria, regardless of whether the individual had a disability during childhood. The key factors considered include the severity of the impairment, its impact on the ability to work, and the fulfillment of medical and vocational requirements.

  1. Changing Criteria:

  • Disability criteria for children and adults differ. The focus shifts from developmental and educational limitations to the individual's capacity for gainful employment.

  • Childhood disability benefits often end at age 18, marking the beginning of a new set of standards for adult disability claims.

  1. Adult Functional Limitations:

  • The SSA evaluates how an individual's impairment affects their ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) in the workforce.

  • The emphasis is on adult functional limitations and the impact of the disability on daily living and work-related activities.

  1. Updated Medical Evidence:

  • Past medical records from childhood, while valuable, may not be sufficient. The SSA requires current and comprehensive medical evidence that demonstrates the ongoing severity of the disability.

  • Adult disability claims must be supported by recent medical documentation, illustrating the persistence and progression of the impairment.

  1. Relevance of Childhood Accommodations:

  • While accommodations and services received during childhood may have been appropriate for educational settings, their relevance to the adult work environment may be limited.

  • Adult disability claims should focus on the specific challenges faced in a professional context.

  1. Independent Adult Living:

  • The SSA evaluates an individual's ability to live independently and engage in daily activities. This assessment goes beyond the scope of childhood disability considerations.

  • Demonstrating the impact of the disability on adult responsibilities is crucial for a successful claim.

In summary, the misconception that being disabled as a minor automatically enhances your case for disability as an adult is a common misunderstanding. While the experience of living with a disability during childhood provides valuable insights, the SSA's evaluation criteria shift when assessing adult disability claims. It is essential to approach the application process with updated medical evidence, a focus on adult functional limitations, and a clear demonstration of the disability's impact on daily living and work-related activities. Seeking guidance from experienced legal professionals can further enhance your chances of a successful disability claim during the transition from childhood to adulthood.

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