Does your child have trouble interacting with and relating to others? How Social Security evaluates socialization problems in children

The third area that the Social Security Administration considers when evaluating whether a child is disabled involves their ability to interact and relate to others.  See SSR 09-5p.

In my experience this is probably the second most popular domain for an Administrative Law Judge to find a marked limitation.  Often times, problems with ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, speech delays, or depression create a marked restriction in this domain.

When Social Security evaluates this domain, it is necessary for a child to have a medical diagnosis which could create problems in the child’s ability to interact and relate to others.  Accordingly, it is typically necessary for a child to be receiving medical treatment for a medical condition in order for an impairment in this domain to be found.

When the Social Security Administration evaluates childhood disability, they typically look at how the child functions with whatever medication is prescribed.  There are other forms of help available to children who need medication, but Social Security is typically only available to children who still have disabling problems even with their medication.

Under this domain, the primary forms of evidence include psychiatric records, speech therapy records, and school records.  As far as school records go, teacher questionnaires which assess a child’s restrictions in getting along with peers, obeying authority, and exhibiting self-control are of utmost importance.  In addition, IEPs, Evaluation Team Reports, and disciplinary records from the school also are very valuable materials to be reviewed when assessing this domain of functioning.  Mental health counseling/therapy records also commonly provide a detailed account of a child’s emotional stability.  This evidence is also highly significant in an evaluation of this domain.

If you believe that your child has a marked (serious) deficit in their ability to interact and relate with others, you may want to file a disability application on their behalf.  However, please note, that it is not enough to just have a marked limitation in this domain.  In fact, a second marked restriction in one of the previously identified functional domains is usually required in order to justify a finding of disabled.

Furthermore, just because your child does not have a marked restriction in this domain of functioning does not mean that he or she cannot qualify for Social Security benefits.  Perhaps your child qualifies for disability under one of the many other regulations covering this expansive area of law.

If you have questions about the Social Security regulations and whether your child may qualify for disability, it would be beneficial for you to contact an experienced attorney who practices in this field.

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