While it is more common for those who are suffering from dementia to be past the retirement age, there are some individuals who experience the warning signs of dementia while they are still working and may need to rely on Social Security Disability (SSD). When this happens, you or a loved one may need help from disability lawyers to demonstrate that you should be entitled to disability benefits.
Proving That the Patient Requires Disability
To be able to justify receiving disability benefits, it must be established that the subject is suffering from a medically proven and severe mental health disability that prevents him or her from working. To be able to medically prove that there is a severe case of dementia interfering with one's ability to find gainful employment, it's important for the individual to see the doctor as soon as possible.
There are several tests that must be taken, with these tests beginning with imaging studies to determine if the symptoms the patient is suffering from have an explanation, such as a tumor or a stroke. There are a series of additional tests that must be performed to verify that the patient is suffering from dementia.
The Neuropsychological Evaluation
In addition to tests, the patient might need to undergo a neuropsychological evaluation to determine his or her cognitive function. This can be used as evidence to determine if he or she will be able to work. These tests can last for hours and will test test various cognitive deficits such as deficits in memory, concentration and attention.
Gathering Evidence to Build a Case
With the facts related to the patient's specific condition, a case can be made for the patient to receive disability. This includes the patient's:
- Lab results
- Treatment history
- Clinical history
- Testimony from physicians
There are several conditions that involve dementia that may allow a patient to qualify for disability. The most well-known is Early-onset Alzheimer's. However, other conditions include:
- Creutz-Jakob Disease
- Parkinsonian syndrome
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Picks Disease (Type A)
- Primary Progressive Aphasia
To be approved for SSDI, an individual must have worked five out of the last ten years to have earned the work credits necessary to be approved for SSDI. For those who are young and haven't been able to work for 10 years, they should have worked at least half of the years since their 18th birthday. Because of all the evidence necessary to qualify, it's recommended that a social security disability lawyer be involved with the case.