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My son is 22 years old and learning disabled — his whole educational history from the age of three has been in special education. He received his high school diploma from a special education school in 2004. He plateaued at a sixth grade learning level and was not able to move beyond that.

We are in the process of trying to get him social security disability, but they can’t make a determination and have to have further testing by one of their own doctors. I don’t have an official “card” or document that says my son is special needs; just a lot of doctor reports that list his various disabilities — neurologic impairment, pervasive developmental disorder, seizure disorder, mild/borderline mental retardation, etc.

My son was just dropped from our health insurance because he is now 22. The insurance company, along with social security administration, want to see his “document” or “certification” that he is disabled. Am I suppose to have such a document and if so, where do I get it? I have searched and searched and can’t find anything “official” to present to anyone to say that he is disabled and has special needs according to the ADA. I hope you can help us! Thank you for your time - I was so happy to find your site!!

Dear Kathy,

There is no “card” that certifies disability that provides a basis for access to insurance, SSI or other government benefits. If a person with a disability qualifies for Medicaid or Medicare, they may get a card, similar to an insurance card, that can be used but different states have different procedures for how this is handled and “the card” just provides access for billing and reimbursement purposes.

Given your description of your child’s diagnosis, it would seem there would be good argument that he should qualify for SSI and for state Medicaid benefits. In addition, if a person is covered on their parent’s insurance and is disabled, there is a basis for continuing coverage based on disability. If the insurance company has refused coverage, an appeal of the denial would be necessary. Your insurance benefits book and the denial letter should explain this appeal procedure.

You should consult an attorney experienced with social security appeals. The American Bar Association lists attorneys who handle social security appeals. By law, if the attorney successfully appeals the denial they are awarded their legal fees as a relatively small percentage of the benefits awarded based on the appeal.

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