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Alzheimer’s disease is not one of the most commonly claimed disabilities that the Social Security Administration (SSA) sees because most claimants apply for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security retirement benefits rather than disability. However, disability benefits for Alzheimer’s disease can be a possibility.

Alzheimer’s is considered a mental disorder for which the SSA will award disability benefits, especially with early onset for individuals under the age of 65, provided you meet certain criteria.

  • You must be able to prove that you have memory problems, are disoriented, or have sudden mood changes.
  • You must have problems with two of the following:  daily living tasks, getting along with others, focusing on tasks, and episodes of memory loss or disorientation.

Simply having symptoms of Alzheimer’s may not be enough to qualify you for disability. The DDS examiner will need to see that your symptoms make it difficult for you to care for yourself and perform your job.

When applying for disability, it is important to describe how the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are manifesting, such as difficulty with daily living tasks like meal preparation, hygiene or communication due to memory loss and how these problems interfere with your work. The documentation of your symptoms in your medical records and the comments made by your treating doctor are very important. It is also helpful to include a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form, filled out by your treating physician, with your initial disability application.

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