Is Dyslexia a Disability?


Dyslexia can be considered a disability when seeking Social Security disability benefits since it may significantly affect a person’s ability to perform basic work activities, such as reading, writing, and communicating. However, it may be challenging to qualify for disability benefits based solely on dyslexia compared with other learning and cognitive disabilities.  

To be eligible for disability benefits, a person with dyslexia would need to demonstrate that their condition is severe enough to prevent them from working for 12 months or longer, which is among the criteria outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the federal agency that oversees Social Security disability programs.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurobiological condition that affects a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. It is characterized by difficulties in accurately and fluently recognizing words, decoding them, and spelling.

People with dyslexia may have difficulty decoding words, understanding the meaning of words, and recognizing written words quickly and accurately. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence or vision, and it affects people of all ages, races, and backgrounds.

Dyslexia is a lifelong condition, but with early detection and appropriate support, people with dyslexia can succeed in school and beyond. Treatment may include specialized reading instruction, assistive technology, and accommodations in the classroom.

What are the Symptoms of Dyslexia?

The symptoms of dyslexia can vary from person to person, but common signs may include:

  • Difficulty reading: People with dyslexia may have trouble decoding words, which can make reading slow and laborious. They may also struggle with reading comprehension and have trouble understanding what they’ve read.
  • Slow and laborious reading: People with dyslexia often take longer to read and may need to re-read sentences multiple times to understand them.
  • Difficulty with spelling and writing: People with dyslexia often have trouble with spelling and may make frequent spelling errors. Struggles with writing and difficulties organizing their thoughts on paper are also common.
  • Trouble with phonemic awareness: People with dyslexia may have difficulty with phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear and manipulate individual sounds in words.
  • Difficulty with verbal memory: People with dyslexia may have trouble remembering spoken information, such as instructions or directions.

It’s important to note that dyslexia is a lifelong condition, and symptoms can change or improve over time. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have dyslexia, it’s important to seek an evaluation from a qualified professional. 

Can You Get Disability Benefits for Dyslexia?

People struggling with dyslexia may develop an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD) or behavioral issues. If an applicant meets the SSA’s listing for neurodevelopmental disorders, they may be eligible for disability benefits.

Dyslexia is not related to a person’s intelligence or vision, but rather, the condition impacts how the brain processes language. People with dyslexia often face challenges with reading comprehension, written expression, and spelling, which may affect their academic performance and everyday activities, including in the workplace.

However, with appropriate support and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia disability can overcome these challenges and succeed in various aspects of life.

Dyslexia Listing in the SSA’s Blue Book

A disability is defined by the SSA as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity due to a medical condition that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.

The SSA outlines eligibility in its guidebook for disabling conditions, which is known as the “Blue Book.” Listing 12.11 covers neurodevelopmental disorders that may qualify an adult for disability benefits. The listing addresses learning disabilities, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, and tic disorders, namely Tourette’s syndrome. Children with dyslexia are included in listing 112.11 of the blue book. The guidebook also includes a wide range of other conditions and impairments that qualify for disability programs. 

What to Do if Your Child is Diagnosed with Dyslexia

Receiving a diagnosis of dyslexia for your child can be overwhelming, but there are steps you can take to support your child’s needs. Parents can take the following steps and suggestions: 

  • Educate yourself about dyslexia
  • Collaborate with your child’s school
  • Provide emotional support
  • Offer multisensory learning opportunities
  • Foster a love for reading
  • Connect with support groups

It is also important to understand children’s legal rights under applicable disability laws, such as IDEA. It may be necessary to also work with relevant professionals and organizations to help ensure that your child’s educational and other needs are met.

How to Apply for Dyslexia Disability

The process for applying for Social Security benefits for dyslexia may vary depending on their unique circumstances and severity. Some of the steps are as follows:

  • Obtain a diagnosis: You will typically need to have a formal diagnosis of dyslexia from a qualified professional, such as a psychologist, educational specialist, or other trained practitioner. The diagnosis should include relevant medical documentation of the severity of your dyslexia and how it impacts your functional abilities and ability to earn an income.
  • Meet eligibility requirements: Review the eligibility requirements for dyslexia disability benefits by the SSA. 
  • Gather evidence: Collect any necessary documentation to support your disability claims, such as medical records, diagnostic reports, educational history, and other relevant information.
  • Complete an application: Fill out the disability benefits application form. It’s important to follow the SSA’s requirements and provide accurate and complete information.

You can apply online through SSA’s website, at a local SSA office, or by calling 1-800-772-1213. 

Was Your Application Denied? Contact a Disability Law Firm

The initial application for your disability may have been denied for a number of reasons. Some common causes for this may include inappropriate medical documentation or missing details in the application form. If your application for dyslexia disability was denied, it’s important to know that you have the right to file an appeal. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with dyslexia, hiring an experienced Louisiana Disability Lawyer can help. Schedule a free case consultation with Rod Deus, an experienced disability attorney, who can help you understand your rights and navigate the application process. Call today at 888-588-9123 or fill out our contact form online.

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