How to Prove Your Child is Disabled Acquiring and Using Information

One major factor that the Social Security Administration considers when evaluating whether a child is disabled is their ability to acquire and use information. See SSR 09-3p.

When evaluating this domain of functioning, school records usually contain the information with the most evidentiary value. It is rare for a child to be found to have a marked restriction in this domain if an IEP plan has not been issued through the school. IEP plans/ETR (evaluation team reports) are crucial in this domain as these reports often contain IQ scores, memory testing, language testing, percentile rankings concerning learning problems, and a list of accommodations that a child will require in order to succeed in the school environment.

In our experience, while testimony from a parent regarding their child’s ability to acquire and use information can be helpful, such evidence often pales in comparison to the value that Social Security places upon school records when evaluating this domain. If a child does not have an IEP plan, the other school records alone are usually unlikely to contain a detailed enough account of a child’s restrictions to justify a finding of disabled based on this domain of functioning.

If you believe that your child has a marked (serious) deficit in their ability to acquire and use information, 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.

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 disability. Perhaps your child qualifies for disability under one of the many other regulations covering this area of law.   If you have questions about these regulations, it would be beneficial for you to contact an experienced attorney who practices in this field.

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