Cognitive disorders can seriously affect those who are afflicted with them. You cannot be discriminated against because of your cognitive disorder, as they are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, the ADA does not provide a specific definition for what it considers to be a cognitive disability. Since different people define cognitive disabilities differently, it can be difficult to determine exactly which conditions fall into that category. The following information will help define cognitive disabilities and how they related to the work world and disability benefits.
A cognitive disability is any disorder that severely affects your ability to acquire knowledge and understand it through thought, experiences, and senses. So, any condition that impacts your ability to learn and process information, remember it, communicate it, or use it in another way can be considered a cognitive disability. Many factors can contribute to the onset of a cognitive disability, including genetics, injury, physical illness, mental illness, substance abuse, or medication use.
Many conditions that can be considered cognitive disabilities. Some of the most common include:
The ADA provides protection for any condition that severely affects someone’s life in some way. This means that an employer may not discriminate against you by refusing to hire you, demoting you, refusing to promote you, or terminating your employment because of your disability. If you can perform the main duties of your job despite your cognitive disability, your job, or your ability to get hired for it, should be safe.
If you believe that you were discriminated against because of your cognitive disorder, you can take action and file a claim under the ADA. If you choose to take this route, it is best to consult with a disability lawyer who can help you develop your case.
If your cognitive disability is so severe that you can no longer work, you can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The following information will help you determine if you qualify for these benefits and, if so, how to apply for them.
Before you begin your application for disability benefits, you first need to determine if you are eligible for SSI, which is based on financial need or SSDI. Regardless of which program you apply for; you will need to provide sufficient medical evidence to back up your claim. Some types of helpful evidence include medical records, test results, and testimonials from people who know you well and have first-hand knowledge of how your condition negatively affects you. Since there is a wide range of cognitive disabilities that all have different symptoms, the more information you can provide to the SSA, the better your chances of having your claim accepted will be.
After you submit your application, The SSA will review your case. The examiner assigned to your case will look for evidence that you have a reduced capacity for learning instructions, concentrating, understanding and retaining instructions. The examiner will also consider your ability to function in social settings and how well you get along with other people. The examiner will also assess your ability to complete work-related functions such as maintaining a consistent work schedule.
The SSA will determine your eligibility for benefits based on the information you provide to them. So, it is imperative that you give them complete information that specifically details all the aspects of your condition. It can be helpful to keep a daily diary of your condition where you can notate the severity of your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. It is also important that you always cooperate with the SSA every step of the way. Return their correspondence in a timely manner and answer all their questions honestly and completely. Also, be willing to submit to any tests the SSA requests you have.
Most disability claims are denied the first time they are submitted, particularly those for cognitive disorders. Cognitive disorders are hard to provide evidence for and prove. If your claim is denied, you can appeal the decision. If you choose to appeal, it is a wise idea to consult with a qualified disability attorney who can help you through the process. If possible, seek out an attorney who has experience with disability claims for people with cognitive disabilities.