Disability Benefits for Down Syndrome

About Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. The additional chromosome causes problems and delays in development resulting in the common characteristics of Down syndrome. It is distinguished by physical growth delays, facial characteristics, and intellectual disability. There is no known reason or factor that will cause the additional genetic material to develop. In most cases, the parents of a child with Down syndrome are genetically normal. Many medical professionals speculate that maternal age may be linked to a greater chance of having a child with Down syndrome.

There is no known cure for Down syndrome but with proper treatment, therapy, and personal care, an individual’s quality of life may improve. It is common for children with Down syndrome to have other health complications such as heart, intestine, or respiratory problems.

Types of Down Syndrome

There are three types different types of Down syndrome and each vary in the amount of chromosome 21 present within the cells. It can be difficult to tell the difference between the three types without looking at the chromosomes as they can appear to have similar symptoms and physical characteristics.

Standard Trisomy 21 (non-mosaic Down syndrome): There is an extra copy of chromosome 21 in every cell. This is the standard, most common form of Down syndrome. Approximately 90% to 95% of individuals with Down syndrome have this type.

Mosaic Down Syndrome: There is an extra chromosome in some but not all of the cells. Individuals with Mosaic Down syndrome usually experience fewer symptoms than others with trisomy 21. Only about 1% of all Down syndrome cases are Mosaic.

Translocation Down Syndrome: There is an extra part of chromosome 21 that is attached to another one of the 46 chromosomes.

Symptoms of Down Syndrome

Down syndrome has a wide variety of symptoms. Not all people diagnosed with Down syndrome experience all of the same symptoms. Some might experience a symptom at full intensity while others may not experience that symptom at all. However, there are still symptoms that are common among most people with Down syndrome. The symptoms of Down syndrome are listed below.

Facial Characteristics

  • Slanted eyes
  • Flattened nose
  • Small ears
  • Misshaped mouth and/or tongue
  • Crooked teeth

Body Characteristics

  • Short stature
  • Short neck
  • Short arms and legs
  • Hypotonia (low muscle tone)

Common Health Issues

  • Heart defects
  • Respiratory problems
  • Eye conditions
  • Hearing problems
  • Dental problems
  • Intellectual disability
  • Depression
  • Hypothyroidism

Qualifying with Down Syndrome

The Blue Book is a guide that was created by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that lists the requirements necessary for particular disabling conditions to qualify for either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). An applicant filing a claim for Trisomy 21 (non-mosaic Down syndrome) would be evaluated under listing 10.06 Non-mosaic Down syndrome.

Mosaic Down syndrome and Translocation Down syndrome are evaluated under the appropriate affected body system(s). For example, an applicant with mosaic down syndrome who has hearing problems would be evaluated under Chapter 2 Special Senses and Speech.

10.06 Non-mosaic Down syndrome

An applicant with Down syndrome will qualify for disability benefits if he or she meets one of the requirements below.

Requirement A

A laboratory report of karyotype analysis signed by a physician or a laboratory report without a signature but with a statement by a physician that the applicant has Down syndrome.


Requirement B

A physician’s report saying that the applicant has Standard Trisomy 21 or chromosome 21 translocation consistent with previous karyotype analysis with the distinctive physical characteristics of Down syndrome.


Requirement C

A physician’s report stating the applicant has Down syndrome with the distinctive physical characteristics and evidence showing that the applicant functions at a level consistent with non-mosaic Down syndrome.

Medical Vocational Allowance

Should an applicant with Down syndrome not meet any of the listings within the Blue Book, he or she may meet the qualification known as the medical vocational allowance. The medical vocational allowance is a qualification that states if an applicant’s disabling condition prevents them from performing unskilled work, he or she will qualify for disability benefits. Unskilled work is defined as any work that takes very little previous education or training to perform successfully. Several of the symptoms of Down syndrome can be severe enough to stop someone from successfully working an unskilled job and in these cases, would qualify them for benefits.


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Board Certified in Social Security Disability by the NBTA. Licensed in both Florida and Massachusetts. Accredited Veterans’ disability attorney.


Board Certified in Social Security Disability by the NBTA. Licensed in both Florida and Michigan. NOSSCR Board of Directors Member.


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