Is ADHD a disability? (+Steps for benefits)

This detailed article will be explaining if ADHD is a disability. In addition to this, we will also be discussing the reasons why or why not ADHD might be considered a disability. We will additionally be discussing how a person with ADHD can claim disability benefits.

Is ADHD a disability?

Yes, ADHD is a disability. More specifically, ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a Neurodevelopmental disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which can affect many parts of a person’s daily life and work activities.

Other types of neurodevelopmental disorders include cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and even autism which show signs and symptoms in early phases of childhood itself. But the tricky part about ADHD is that it can be hard to clearly diagnose and categorize it.

Why is ADHD considered a disability?

Some people say that ADHD cannot be considered a disability mainly because it may not be very visible and comes in different levels. The main reasons why ADHD is considered a disability by health boards is because,

ADHD may cause cognitive impairments

The main reason why ADHD is considered a disability by health boards is because it can lead to impairments in cognition. ADHD affects not just one aspect of cognition but many other aspects like memory, attention span and even multi-tasking.

It can lead to impulsive behaviors

Those who have ADHD are also more prone to impulsive behaviors than others. This means that they often participate in risky activities which can be damaging to them economically and physically as well.

It can have negative impacts on learning

Many people assume that ADHD is actually a learning disability. While it is not strictly classified to be so, ADHD has been known to negatively impact the learning abilities which can make them slow students in school.

It can make the person forgetful

Another aspect of ADHD is that it can negatively affect a person’s memory. Due to this, the person may often find that they keep forgetting people’s names and details and may need to be instructed more than once when it comes to delegating tasks.

Social relationships can be affected

ADHD can lead to a lot of mannerisms and behaviors which other people may not like. And therefore, social relationships of those with ADHD may not be rich and pleasant enough. This can further affect their psycho-social and mental health.

It can negatively impact job performance

ADHD is not just a disorder which occurs in childhood but permanently continues into adulthood. People who have ADHD may even find that their job performance is being affected because of this disorder.

It can affect decision making

The decision making abilities of those with ADHD may also be affected because of the disorder. ADHD can not only cloud mental capabilities when it comes to absorbing information, which is important for making a decision, but also reduces problem-solving abilities.

Is ADHD a disability? (+Steps for benefits)

How to claim ADHD disability benefits?

If you are someone with ADHD and want to claim disability benefits, you need to fall under certain criteria, which are,

  • You will need to be diagnosed with ADHD from childhood. Therefore, if your ADHD has been diagnosed after you have entered adulthood, you cannot be eligible for ADHD disability benefits.
  • You also need to provide proof that the condition is affecting your job or your schoolwork. In this case, mild hindrances or difficulties will not be accepted. You need to show that the disability is severely affecting your daily life.

If you match these criteria, you can then follow these steps to claim disability benefits,

  • You will need to contact a government official who will closely examine your school performance through documents. In these papers and test scores, the government official will look for signs of severe impairment.
  • Apart from school performance, the official will also look at how the condition is affecting your adult life. In this phase as well, the official will be seeking proof of severe hindrances or challenges that the condition is causing.
  • You will then need to get official documentation from any medical professional that says that you have been diagnosed with ADHD. In the certificate of diagnosis, all the three core symptoms need to be mentioned, i.e. inattentiveness, impulsiveness & hyperactivity.
  • You also need to provide documentation that the condition has directly affected at least two of these three conditions in your life – communication problems, problems in socializing, problems in creating personal friendships with those of your same age group.


This detailed article has explained if ADHD is a disability. In addition to this, we have also discussed the reasons why or why not ADHD might be considered a disability. We have additionally discussed how a person with ADHD can claim disability benefits.

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