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ADHD and diagnosing it as an adult

It’s estimated that 4% of adults may suffer with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While many of those individuals may have been diagnosed as children and have been receiving proper medical treatment, there is some percentage of adults who have never been diagnosed. filing-for-disability Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I have never been diagnosed with ADHD but given some of the issues I have, I am starting to think I may have a problem. If I am diagnosed with ADHD will I qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?” Although the symptoms of ADHD may be more subtle and harder to diagnose in adults, experts contend that there are warning signs that an adult may struggle with the disorder. For example, some experts have seen an increase in accidents, unplanned pregnancies, and substance abuse in some individuals with ADHD. The inability to get organized and take responsibility (i.e. trouble paying bills and keeping a job) also can be higher in certain individuals struggling with ADHD.

Getting help for ADHD

If you suspect you have ADHD the first step is to go to the doctor and get a proper diagnosis. Next, you need to follow your doctor’s treatment plan and find out whether this helps. If you have not gotten proper medical care, you are not taking your medication, and if you do not have a diagnosis, the SSA will generally deny your claim. The SSA will argue that if your condition was severe enough you would have gotten treatment, and there is no way for them to determine if you can work. Additionally, they can argue that if you were following your treatment plan you may have the ability to work.

Meeting a listing for ADHD

The first method the SSA uses to make a disability determination is deciding whether your condition meets or equals a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments. This listing is a group of disorders and their corresponding symptoms which the SSA had decided are automatically disabling. ADHD is not specifically listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments, but there are other disorders which are listed and can be evaluated under 12.00 Mental Disorders. There are some claimants who may have such severe symptoms that they could argue that their ADHD “equals a listing.” Remember, this will be claimants who have sought medical treatment, taken their medication, receiving counseling and other treatments, but cannot maintain employment due to the severity of their ADHD.

Meeting a medical vocational allowance for ADHD

Unfortunately, most claimants with ADHD will not win SSDI benefits. The bottom line is there are millions of Americans who suffer with this condition but who are able to find some type of employment. If the SSA denied your case, arguing your condition is not severe enough. You may be able to win benefits through a medical vocational allowance. As mentioned above, this is very unlikely. Your chances will increase if you have other conditions which limit your ability to work. Talk to a lawyer if you have questions about your case. Recent articles: Tinnitus and SSDI Benefits