Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”) is a common diagnosis in a lot of the children’s cases that we handle. These cases can be very hard to win for several reasons. First, the diagnosis of ADHD alone is not enough. Your child must have significant limitations in addition to having ADHD. For example, his or her ADHD must make it very difficult for your child to understand new information in class, pay attention to his teachers, or make and keep new friends. Your child will be found disabled if he or she meets, equals, or functionally equals Social Security’s Listing for ADHD, found here. Oftentimes, children will experience problems because of their ADHD but medication helps them focus. If your child’s medication controls his or her problems, the Administrative Law Judge will take this into consideration. I often tell people to compare it to an adult who takes blood pressure medication – if that adult can take her blood pressure medication and it controls her blood pressure and allows her to work, it’s not disabling. The same can hold true for children who have severe ADHD that is controlled by medication. Having ADHD alone is simply not enough. Further, while it is important how your child behaves at home, most Administrative Law Judges will be very interested in your child’s school performance. Because of this, it is very important to keep track of all of your child’s school paperwork, including suspension notices, report cards, IEPs, notices from teachers, and school testing.
I received a favorable decision in recent case where the child’s main problem was ADHD. In that case, the child was able to win his case because he met Social Security’s Listing for ADHD. We were able to prove this by providing a full record of claimant’s problems. The records included statements from the claimant’s teacher about his inability to focus and to get along with others. In addition, the claimant’s guardian testified at the hearing about claimant’s outbursts and fighting. The guardian’s testimony was considered credible because it was supported by a psychological evaluation performed by a licensed psychologist.