Living with a disability is a devastating experience. The physical pain and inability to work due to complications cause financial strain for many people who are living with a long-term disability. Beyond the physical limitations, disabled individuals experience emotional pain related to reduced quality of life. Being unable to pay for basic necessities like food and housing causes stress, and the medical treatments needed to make a disability more manageable are costly. Fortunately, people who have a disability that is expected to last over one year may be eligible for assistance.
Social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits are available to people who have worked in the past. This insurance policy is funded directly through paycheck deductions that are withheld by an employer and remitted to the federal government. Recipients must have recent work history in order to qualify, and SSDI benefits are earned throughout a person’s working life.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a condition that occurs when an external force causes injury to the brain. The force usually involves a blow to the head, although it is possible for TBI to occur when an object pierces the skull. For example, a bullet that does not cause fatal injuries can still result in TBI.
Depending on the severity of the blow, TBI may be temporary. In the case of temporary TBI, sufferers are able to recover through medical treatment and cognitive exercises. However, more serious injuries may lead to long-term brain damage. Blows that result in torn brain tissue or bleeding or bruising in the brain can cause permanent symptoms. In extreme cases, the brain damage will eventually be fatal.
Symptoms of TBI are both physical and cognitive in nature. Physical symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sleep disturbances, dizziness and headaches. Cognitive symptoms include confusion, difficulty concentrating, sudden changes in mood and memory problems.
People who experience a blow to the head that may result in TBI need to seek emergency medical assistance. Medications like diuretics and anti-seizure drugs may be prescribed to reduce the damage done to the brain. If the damage is severe, surgical intervention is often required. Cognitive rehabilitation is used as part of the recovery plan of those who suffer from a traumatic brain injury. Even with treatment, some people will never fully recover from their brain injury.
Getting Disability for Traumatic Brain Injury
Qualifying for SSDI benefits after suffering a TBI is a matter of proving that complications stemming from the injury have caused long-term disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have a specific listing for TBI, but there are conditions related to TBI that are listed. For example, epilepsy is a recognized disability. Eligibility for SSDI benefits due to epilepsy depends on the frequency and severity of seizures.
Damage to the central nervous system may also qualify a person for SSDI benefits. Complications including difficulty speaking and involuntary movements of the extremities allow a person to qualify for benefits if these symptoms persist for more than three months following an accident.
Getting Help from TBI Disability Attorney
Unfortunately, the process of applying for SSDI benefits can be long and frustrating. It takes months for the SSA to make an initial decision, and over half of first-time applications are denied. Many of these applications are rejected due to errors made on the required forms or a lack of sufficient medical evidence of disability. Legal professionals are able to help disabled individuals navigate the application process. An experienced SSDI attorney is knowledgeable about the SSA’s requirements and works to ensure that clients have the best chance at being approved for benefits. To get started with a smooth SSDI benefits application process, schedule a consultation with an attorney.