People can qualify for Social Security disability benefits after suffering traumatic brain injuries that leave them incapacitated enough to no longer work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers many different types of traumatic brain injuries when considering a person for disability benefits.
Types and severity of TBI can vary. It is very typical immediately after the injury for the patient to have a headache, or be dizzy or nauseous or even vomiting. The person might even be unconscious. Blurry vision and problems with motor coordination is another classic sign.
When you seek medical treatment, a TBI diagnosis will be made based on clinical evidence of these signs. If you are able, the doctor will ask you to perform a neurological examination to check your pupils in your eyes for a normal response to light. Other motor coordination tests are done as part of this exam as well.
The doctor will also likely use an imaging method–x-ray, CT scan or MRI–to look for evidence of the brain injury. Later, the doctor will likely ask you to do cognitive tests to determine whether the TBI has had any long-term effects on your memory or your ability to normally process information. If the TBI is severe, you may need physical and cognitive rehabilitation therapy.
The SSA uses a manual called the Blue Book to assess disability claims; this book contains a list of qualifying impairments. While traumatic brain injury (TBI) does not have its own listing, TBI is considered as part of other disabilities like brain trauma, head trauma, stroke and seizures. The TBI listings in the Blue Book fall under the general category of neurological and mental disorders.
In the SSA Blue Book, you will likely see traumatic brain injury (TBI) also referred to as intracranial injury. SSA defines these injuries as an injury that results “when an external force causes brain trauma”. The older term “head injury” is often generally used, but refers to a much broader range of injuries that SSA uses to describe structural defects and congenital disorders rather than trauma.
SSA looks at the extent of brain injuries, as well as the severity of the injury and how debilitating it is, as well as the duration you’ve had the injury.
When the SSA reviews disability claims, they look in the Blue Book for the closest matching condition that fits your symptoms. SSA will generally classify your TBI under the following categories:
· Convulsive epilepsy
· Non-convulsive epilepsy
· Stroke or stroke-like complications
· Organic mental disorders
The SSA might classify you under multiple listings to fit all of your symptoms into their review.
Even if you don’t meet one of the above Blue Book listings, SSA can still review your claim for disability by performing a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment to gauge your ability to perform job tasks. Approval—or denial—of your claim largely depends on SSA’s determination of your RFC that remains after you’ve suffered a TBI.
The SSA always needs as much detailed medical evidence as you can provide when you file a claim. Specifically for brain injuries, there are several types of evidence the SSA will review: doctor’s diagnosis, detailed notes about medical tests performed, a list of prescribed medications, and doctors’ reports regarding his or her (or their) professional opinion about your functional limitations and the impacts of those limitations to your ability to adequately perform a job.
Your comprehensive medical evidence is important when submitting your disability claim to SSA for any injury but particularly for brain injuries because of the way SSA classifies it under the Blue Book listings. If you haven’t hired a disability attorney, consider calling Fred London Law today. Our firm will provide you with a qualified legal representative to gather your required TBI evidence and help you submit your disability claim.