One in every 690 babies that are born in the United States are born with a form of Down syndrome. This condition can often prevents an individual from performing substantial gainful work activity and many individuals who live with Down syndrome are unable to provide for themselves. This may place a severe financial burden on the family of the disabled individual. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can help offset some of the financial difficulties caused by Down syndrome conditions. If you know someone who lives with Down syndrome and are wondering how their condition qualifies them for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information can help.
Down syndrome - Condition and Symptoms
Most individuals have two copies of chromosome 21 in the cells of their body. In individuals with Down syndrome, there are three copies of this chromosome instead of two. The third copy of the chromosome results in slower physical development and impaired mental abilities.
There are three types of Down syndrome: Trisomy 21 (about 95% of cases), Translocation (2-3% of cases) and Mosaic (2-3% of cases). People who have Non-Mosaic Down syndrome have an extra chromosome in each cell of the body. Those with Mosaic Down syndrome only have an extra chromosome in some of the body's cells while other cells of the body are normal.
Individuals who are born with Mosaic Down syndrome experience varying degrees of the condition. Some of these people may experience significant disabilities while others may experience very mild symptoms. Those who are born with Trisomy 21 or Translocation Down syndrome are considered to be significantly disabled and their mental, skeletal and neurological functions are affected. In some cases, the heart, vision and hearing may also be impacted by the condition.
Down syndrome can be diagnosed both before and after birth. Amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling and percutaneous umbilical cord blood sampling can all be conducted to detect Down syndrome before a child is born. If prenatal testing is not conducted, a doctor will usually recognize and diagnose Down syndrome as a result of the physical characteristics of the condition. If Down syndrome is suspected after birth, a doctor may order a chromosomal karyotype test which screens for the chromosome that causes the condition.
Individuals who are born with Down syndrome will experience varying degrees of symptoms and some people may not experience every symptom that is associated with the condition. Some of the common symptoms of Down syndrome include decreased muscle tone, an asymmetrical skull, slanting eyes, a small mouth with protruding tongue, delayed growth and development and delayed mental and social skills. Individuals who are born with Down syndrome may also be at an increased risk of developing infections, respiratory complications, heart defects and issues with hearing and vision.
There is no cure for Down syndrome, although some of the medical complications that occur as a result of the condition can often be treated. Special education classes can help individuals with Down syndrome with mental and social development if necessary, although many people with Down syndrome find that participating in a General Education setting is far more beneficial. Most of the individuals who live with Down syndrome are able to lead healthy and productive lives, although many will never be able to support themselves or perform substantial gainful work activity. Due to advances in health care, people with Down syndrome have a life expectancy nearly as high as their peers.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Trisomy 21, Translocation, and Mosaic Down syndrome
Down syndrome is covered under the Social Security Administration (SSA)'s “Blue Book” of impairments under Section 110.00. Individuals who are born with Non-Mosaic Down syndrome are considered disabled from birth by the SSA and will automatically qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Those who have Mosaic cases of Down syndrome may or may not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits depending on the severity of their condition.
If an individual has Trisomy 21 or Translocation Down syndrome, he or she will likely be awarded benefits at the initial stage of the Social Security Disability application process. You will need to provide the SSA with the results of a karyotype analysis in order to be approved for benefits due to Non-Mosaic Down Syndrome.
Getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits for Mosaic Down syndrome may be a little more complicated. In addition to providing medical evidence of the Down syndrome condition, you will also need to prove that the condition is severe enough that it prevents the individual who is applying for benefits from being able to work.
Down syndrome and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to a condition of Non-Mosaic Down syndrome, chances are that the application will be approved in the initial stage of the application process. If you are applying for benefits due to a case of Mosaic Down syndrome there is a slight chance that your initial application will be denied. If this is the case, you will need to appeal the SSA's decision in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
If you are looking to file for disability benefits or have already been denied, you should contact a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer to represent you in your claim for disability benefits. Your chances of successfully filing a disability claim due to Down syndrome are significantly increased if you are represented by an attorney.