Portrait of cute handicapped boy in garden.

Awareness and support for Down syndrome increasing

Down syndrome occurs when a person receives extra genetic material in Chromosome 21. This genetic disorder causes developmental delays and mental disability, as any Chicago Social Security attorney understands. Additionally, serious physical complications may occur with Down syndrome. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these include heart defects, vision and hearing loss, blood disorders and spinal problems.

Down syndrome, which affects 6,000 babies annually, represents the most common chromosomal disorder and the top cause of childhood learning disabilities. Fortunately, as this disorder has become more common, public understanding and acceptance have also increased.

Growing acceptance

In the U.S., support for people with Down Syndrome has grown with the help of organizations that raise awareness. For example, the National Down Syndrome Society funds research, advocacy and events such as Down Syndrome Awareness Month. These efforts serve to increase public knowledge and support.

Acceptance of Down syndrome is also increasing on a larger scale. Recently, the tenth World Down Syndrome Day raised awareness of the disorder in various countries. This event also helped highlight the many contributions that individuals with Down syndrome make to society.

Available resources

Efforts to support people with Down syndrome and their families continue throughout the U.S. For instance, here in Illinois, a pending bill would help new and expectant parents receive updated, accurate information about Down syndrome. This resource would help parents understand Down syndrome, find support and learn about available treatment therapies.

Despite enhanced public support, people with Down syndrome may still need special forms of assistance, including financial support. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may be available to adults and children with Down syndrome.

Financial support

SSD benefits are awarded to adults who can’t work gainfully and children with significant impairments. Children may qualify for Supplemental Security Income or dependent benefits. Adults may receive SSI, Social Security Disability Insurance or “adult child’s” benefits.

As a Chicago Social Security attorney could explain, eligibility for most of these benefits depends on the nature and severity of the disorder. The Social Security Administration may award benefits in the following cases:

  • Children with Down syndrome — children may receive benefits if they exhibit significant functional limitations that restrict their daily activities.
  • Adults with non-mosaic Down syndrome — with proper documentation, this disorder is automatically considered disabling.
  • Adults with mosaic Down syndrome — the SSA evaluates whether this disorder and associated health complications prevent gainful employment.

Besides providing financial benefits, the SSA offers special work programs for beneficiaries. These programs may help people with Down syndrome receive vocational training and pursue gainful employment. Additionally, as a Chicago Social Security attorney could attest, these programs allow individuals to attempt working while receiving needed support.