If you feel like your memory isn’t what it once was, you aren’t alone. But does is disable you?
Memory loss can be related to both physical and mental health conditions, such as stroke or brain injury or sleep apnea, chronic depression and anxiety, or even prior excessive drug and/or alcohol use. Typical declines in cognitive functioning and memory related to age are generally not significant enough to establish a disabling impairment.
So how do you know when memory issues could impact your disability claim? Consider the following:
- Making mistakes or inability to follow a simple recipe
- Asking the same questions repeatedly or forgetting conversations
- Mixing up common words like “chair” and “pan”
- Getting lost while driving or walking to previously familiar places
- Struggling or failing to recall names or relationships to family or close friends you’ve known for years
Also consider what medications you are taking, some of which can have memory impairment side effects. Mixing medications with alcohol or drugs can also create memory problems, the type which social security will not see as an organic disabling problem, but one that could be reversed with sobriety or change in medications.
Diagnosing your memory loss is vital to a strong disability case. A variety of tests may help in determining what is causing your condition, including PET scans or MRIs, psychometric testing, neuropsychological testing, certain blood tests or vitamin deficiencies, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) or the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).
What can you do to help the judge understand your memory loss and how it affects your ability to work?
Be as descriptive with your doctor as you can, giving examples of your memory loss, or bring a trusted friend to your appointments to help you explain. Try to obtain some of the above testing option to help your doctor come to a diagnosis. Keep a log at home about troubling memory loss incidents.
If you are not sure if your memory loss is severe enough to be considered in your disability case, just give us a call!