Having mental and developmental issues is not uncommon in New Jersey. For those who are suffering from mental limitations, it can be impossible to self-support. Fortunately, assistance is available through many sources. One of those sources is Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions. Regardless of the overall severity of the condition, it is important for the individual and his or her caregivers to understand what steps are necessary to be approved for SSD benefits. As with any case related to filing for disability benefits, having legal help is a must.

Mental limitations, sometimes historically referred to as “mental retardation,” falls into the category of possessing an intellectual disorder. Individuals who suffer from this condition will have a significantly below average level of intellectual function. They have deficits in the ability to functionally adapt, too. These characteristics will manifest prior to age 22. These individuals might have problems with conceptual understanding, social comprehension, and practical skills.

To be approved for disability benefits, the applicant must meet the requirements in one of two categories, designated as A and B. For category A, the person must be significantly below average when given standardized test of their ability to function intellectually; have deficits in the ability to adapt and be dependent on others for basic needs such as getting dressed, bathing and going to the toilet; and show evidence that the issues started before age 22.

For category B, the person must show below average intelligence with an IQ score of 70 or less, or a full-scale IQ of 71 to 75 with a verbal IQ score of 70 or less. There must also be deficits in the ability to adapt with extreme limitation in one area or marked limitation in two areas in the following: understanding, remembering or applying information; interacting with others; concentrating, persisting or pacing; or adapting and managing him or herself. The issues must have manifested and be evident prior to age 22.

Caring for a loved one who is considered intellectually disabled can be difficult. Their needs are vast and the care is often all day, every day. For these individuals to receive the care and medical treatment they need, it can be costly. Having SSD benefits is key to meeting their needs. While getting benefits for mental retardation might be viewed as easier than getting Social Security disability benefits for anxiety disorders and similar challenges, that does not mean legal help should be ignored.