Dementia


Living with a disability often means learning to live with a long-term loss of quality of life. Not only is a person often unable to enjoy favorite hobbies and activities when suffering from a disabling condition, but disabled individuals may also be unable to earn an income due to physical or mental limitations that make work tasks difficult or impossible to complete. When a person cannot work due to a disability, social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits may be available.

SSDI benefits are funded through paycheck deductions. The federal government manages the insurance program, and people who have worked in the past may be eligible. Work history and the limitations caused by the disability will determine whether a person is eligible for benefits.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a mental health condition that causes a gradual decline in cognitive function. The term encompasses several illnesses, and Alzheimer’s disease is the most recognized type of dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, rapid changes in mood and a marked change in personality. In advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, sufferers are often unable to recognize loved ones and may be confused about their surroundings on a daily basis. People who suffer from the cognitive disorder will eventually die as a result of complications of the illness.

Dementia can involve a combination of two different cognitive disorders. For example, people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease may also have vascular dementia. The condition causes a permanent loss of motor function over time.

Dementia cannot be effectively treated, and any treatment methods that are attempted are simply used to slow the progression of the associated condition. Because there is no cure or effective treatment option for any type of dementia, all conditions that fall into this category are considered to be permanent disabilities.

Getting SSDI for Dementia

Getting SSDI is often a matter of applying under the Social Security Administration (SSA) listing for the associated condition. Requirements vary by condition. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s would need to establish that symptoms including memory loss, confusion and personality changes are present. These symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to care for themselves, maintain personal relationships and focus on daily tasks.

If a person has any other type of dementia, the individual must provide evidence that symptoms like difficulty paying attention, an inability to write or speak and a rapid loss of cognitive function exist.

The most important part of the SSDI application is providing evidence that a disability exists. A medical professional needs to diagnose the applicant, and records detailing symptoms should be established. Disabled individuals should seek routine medical care to ensure that a thorough record is established, and these records must be maintained by a licensed medical provider.

Getting Help from an Attorney

People who suffer from dementia will eventually reach a point at which they will no longer be able to work. The confusion and memory loss caused by the condition makes it difficult for people to apply for benefits, and family members may have trouble properly filing the paperwork needed to apply for SSDI benefits on the behalf of a loved one. The best option in this situation is to hire an SSDI attorney to help. SSDI lawyers have experience helping people gather the necessary information to prove that a disability exists. If your loved one is suffering from dementia and needs SSDI benefits to pay for housing, food and other necessities, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.