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Cognative ability vs. Intelligence
Posted: Monday, December 5, 2016 11:28 AM
Joined: 6/16/2016
Posts: 33

I mentioned this in a previous post today. This was brought to my attention while taking a test to determine if I am eligible for Social Security Disability. 

I'd like to hear from others who have taken the test and were denied SS.

In taking the small test, i'd say that 90% of the test was intelligence based, in other words geard towards intellect rather than cognative ability.

Questions like: who was Abraham Lincoln or who was Ghandi...Who is the current president and who is running for president etc. Yes I know these question may not be answerable by those with advanced Alz. however, in my current state and given my diagnosis, these questions do more to hinder my chances of obtaining SS disability benefits. Just an fyi, for more about myself and my diagnosis, feel free to read some of my other posts,

Now when the state approved psycologist asked me to correctly answer math, simple accounting, reading comprehention or following specific directions, this is where the trouble began, although like I said, this was a small fraction of the test, so I ask you folks: Given the fact that SS had my records, test results and medical history why did they neglect to alter the test so that it focused more on the disability for which I am applying? Is this just a "stock test"?

If my intellect is intact does that exclude me from receiving SS? In talking to people, I really doubt anyone would guess that I suffer from MCI / EOD. This brings to light the fact that I could probably interview for a position in which I was formerly qualified and be a solid contender, BUT... in a couple months the jig would be up (If i was given the job).


Iris L.
Posted: Monday, December 5, 2016 1:27 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16241

History Geek, I am getting ready to leave for a day trip with the senior center, so I cannot respond now.  But could you link one or two of your prior threads that you mention above so members can have more context?  Also, do you have a dx of YOAD or of MCI?  See you later.  

Iris L.

Posted: Monday, December 5, 2016 1:42 PM
Joined: 6/16/2016
Posts: 33



 Yes I have a DX from Georgetown Hospital. That's whats frustrating.


Posted: Monday, December 5, 2016 2:47 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155

Thank you for posting a link to your other post HG I remember you from that and I am glad you are here. It is not easy going through tests for this or for that when it comes to things mental. I know I have been through it all. I hope you get your social security. I just did the neuropsychological testing last month and it was hard and I really do not want to go through it again but will if need be. I am thinking of going to another doctor as a second opinion due to my dislike of some of the things my neurology nurse practitioner does or doesn't do.
Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 12:48 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16241

History Geek, I read your prior thread.  I really cannot answer your specific question about the difference between intellect and cognitive ability.  The neurocognitive tests evaluate several aspects of intelligence, including memory, general knowledge, attention, problem solving, processing speed, orientation.  The testing includes evaluation for mental disorders such as depression and anxiety and others, also evaluates for personality traits.  The comprehensive testing that is recommended tests for all aspects of intellect. I don't know how much testing SS does for their own records.  When I was evaluated over 20 years ago, I don't remember undergoing neurocognitive testing again by SS.

If you have a definite diagnosis of Young Onset Alzheimer's Disease, you may be eligible for Compassionate Allowance from SS.  This is a solution negotiated by the Alzheimer's Association for YOAD patients which fast-tracks their application.  Here is more information about it. 

You might want to discuss your concerns with a Care Consultant on the Helpline.


Are you currently working now, even at a low level job?  In order to receive SSDI, I had to state that I was unable to complete any gainful employment.  Apparently you can be employed, but you must be absolutely clear on the rules regarding employment.

Here is a thread from earlier this year with a good discussion of obtaining SSDI


Some people work with an attorney.  The fee for the attorney comes out of your back settlement, so you do  not have to lay out cash up front.


Some people do not use an attorney. 


Getting SSDI can be complicated, so please read a lot about it on these boards and elsewhere.  I hope some more members can respond more specifically to your question.


Iris L.


Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 9:28 AM
Joined: 6/16/2016
Posts: 33

Thanks Iris!


Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 10:18 PM
Joined: 2/24/2016
Posts: 1096

Not sure if this helps any, but when I had my neuropsychological testing I was told that my intellect was normal, but that I had moderate to severe cognitive impairment.  So it seems from what the doc said that intellect and cognitive abilities are two different things.  Which I did not realize at the time, so found surprising.  Neuropsych doc said my main problems were learning new information, planning, organizing, multi tasking and attention.  He said my test results did not show the pattern for Alzheimer's, but probable FTD.

Before my aphasia showed up about a year ago I could have easily got through a job interview for my profession (registered polysomnographer), but I would definitely no longer be able to do the job.  So I do know what you mean about that.

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2018 9:46 AM
Joined: 11/9/2017
Posts: 6

My DW has been diagnosed with ALZ since 2016. She also is challenged by things such as getting clothing on in the correct order. Many times she has attempted to put on her underwear over her outerwear. She still needs reminding how to unlock her wheelchair or walker. Perhaps her past stroke has affected her intelligence (?). Yet she has perfectly good speech and proper grammar. RSVP
Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2018 2:41 AM
Joined: 10/4/2018
Posts: 2

Thanks for the information.