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Dyslexia and SSDI benefits

Dyslexia a specific learning disorder, most likely inherited, which interferes with an individual’s ability to convert words and letters into speech. Children or adults who suffer from dyslexia may have difficulty concentrating, speaking properly, writing, reading, and spelling.


Dyslexia is generally diagnosed when a child starts school as teachers and parents recognize the child’s difficulty in reading and understanding what they hear, comprehending instructions, recognizing the differences between words and letters, spelling, and summarizing a story.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is offered to claimants who have a severe mental or physical health condition and who are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months. Claimants must be insured for benefits (which means they have worked and paid into the SSA system) to qualify for SSDI. If you your condition is not severe, if you are able to perform any type of work, or if you are not insured, you will automatically be denied SSDI benefits.

Can I get SSDI for my dyslexia?

To make a disability determination the SSA compares a complaints condition to conditions listed in the SSA Blue Book (a list of conditions the SSA considers automatically disabling). There is currently not a listing for dyslexia in the SSA Blue Book. If a claimant’s condition is not listed or does not “meet or exceed” a listing the SSA can also make a disability determination through a medical vocational allowance. Under this method the SSA will determine whether the claimant has the residual functional capacity to work. Given these two disability determination processes, it will be nearly impossible to win SSDI benefits solely for dyslexia. Although workers with dyslexia may struggle to read and write, most claimants with this condition are intelligent. So while the SSA may recognize that those who suffer with dyslexia may find it difficult to complete certain jobs, assuming they are physically able-bodied, the SSA will probably determine they can find work.

Dyslexia combined with multiple disorders

Will it help if you have multiple health conditions? Yes, if you have multiple health conditions, which lower your ability to perform work, this will improve your chances for winning benefits. For example, if you have dyslexia combined with another severe health condition such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHA), diabetes, a severe heart condition, deafness, severe skin disorders, etc. it will be much easier to convince the SSA you do not have the ability to perform work.

Dyslexia and Literacy

Claimants may also be able to improve their chances of winning disability benefits if they have evidence they are illiterate and they have another physical disability which precludes them from performing any work which is not sedentary. For example, according to the SSA Grid Rules a claimant may be approved for SSDI benefits if they are illiterate, they are at least 45 years of age, they have only performed unskilled work in the past, and they do not have the physical capability to perform any work which is more strenuous than sedentary labor.