Although IQ scores can be helpful evidence when a person is applying for Social Security disability benefits for cognitive impairment, a low score does not automatically mean their application will be approved. Many people with low IQs can successfully maintain full-time employment, so an applicant will need to prove that their condition prevents them from working.
What IQ Scores Measure
IQ tests are intended to measure reasoning, logic, and problem-solving. They are considered tests of natural ability, as opposed to tests of specific knowledge a person has learned through life experience.
An average person has an IQ of between 90 and 109. Here are how other scores rate:
- Scores of 80 to 89 are considered low average.
- Scores of 70 to 79 are considered borderline impaired.
- Scores of 55 to 69 are considered a mild impairment.
- Scores of 40 to 54 are considered a moderate impairment.
- Scores below 40 are considered an extreme impairment.
Intellectual Disorder vs. Loss of Mental Functioning
Applicants who are receiving benefits based solely on an intellectual disorder must have an impairment that occurred before age 22 and a full-scale IQ score of 70 or below, or a full-scale IQ score of 71 to 75 with a verbal or performance score of 70 or less. Because they have insufficient work history due to their age, these applicants are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Older applicants who were able to maintain paid employment and earn work credits previously can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. For an applicant with a loss of mental functioning occurring after age 22, such as a cognitive impairment associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI), the application is evaluated under the Blue Book listing for the correct neurocognitive disorder. This usually requires that the applicant’s current IQ be at least 15 points lower than their IQ before they experienced the impairment. However, since not all individuals have IQ or cognitive test scores from their pre-accident days, it’s often necessary to work with an attorney experienced in this type of SSDI claim to establish a baseline with which to compare their current skill level.
Have You Or A Loved One Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you or a loved on has been denied Social Security Disability Benefits you need to speak with an experienced SSD attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.