Whether it’s caused by a car crash, fall, or another type of accident, a traumatic brain injury could impact you for the rest of your life. Outcomes vary widely, due to the brain’s plasticity and overall unpredictability. What happens if a traumatic brain injury affects your ability to work and leaves you unable to provide for your family? It’s time to look into Social Security disability benefits.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the application process, you’re not alone. The team at Baker & Baker knows how important your benefits are to you, and we’re ready to guide you through the process. Call us at 850-433-0888 to schedule a consultation today.
Your TBI Classification
Much depends on how severe your TBI is. A mild traumatic brain injury is unlikely to qualify you for SSDI benefits, as it causes minimal symptoms and generally heals with time and rest. You cannot receive SSDI benefits for an injury that isn’t expected last more than a year or result in your death.
However, if you have a moderate or severe TBI, you may very well be eligible for disability payments. Moderate injuries can affect your mobility, speech, language, emotional regulation, and other bodily functions. Severe injuries generally affect multiple body functions, often lasting multiple years or the rest of your life.
How a Comprehensive Diagnosis Can Help
The Social Security Administration is extremely thorough in its vetting of SSDI applications, so be prepared with plenty of medical evidence and documentation. This includes extensive information regarding your diagnosis and prognosis. Neuroimaging techniques can capture the extent of the damage caused by your injury and provide in-depth information regarding skills and functions that are likely to be affected.
However, imaging is unlikely to be enough to prove your diagnosis and the extent of your injury. You may also need to meet with a psychiatrist who can test your limitations and properly document how your brain injury has affected your cognitive abilities.
Getting Social Security Benefits for Physical or Mental Challenges
The Social Security Administration does include traumatic brain injuries in its Listing of Impairments, also known as the Blue Book. To qualify this way, you must meet one of these two requirements:
- Be unable to control movement in at least two of your extremities for three consecutive months after the injury, resulting in extreme difficulty in balancing while standing, walking, standing from a seated position, or using your arms
- Have significant physical problems and at least one marked limitation in finishing tasks, thinking, regulating emotions, controlling behavior, or interacting with others
A marked limitation is one that has a serious impact on your ability to function in life.
What If I Don’t Meet the Qualifications of the SSA Blue Book?
As you read the Blue Book listing, you may worry that you don’t meet their strict qualifications. This does not mean that you cannot get disability benefits for your traumatic brain injury. It just means you may have to use another route to seek benefits.
In addition to the Blue Book, the Social Security Administration can measure your capabilities via your residual functional capacity. This looks at what you are capable of doing in regards to work tasks and if there are other jobs that could be appropriate for you. If you cannot do your current job and the SSA cannot identify other career paths that may be appropriate for you, the SSA may award you benefits as a medical-vocational allowance.
Whether you pursue benefits via the Blue Book listing or by testing your residual functional capacity, be prepared to show extensive documentation of your TBI. Medical records are crucial, and so are doctors’ notes and treatment recommendations. Remember, the SSA will look for any way to keep you working before providing benefits, so you will want to demonstrate that you have exhausted every possible option.
Start Your Disability Application with Baker & Baker
Ready to pursue SSDI benefits for your TBI or another injury? Choose the team at Baker & Baker for help with your SSDI application. To set up a time to talk to our team and get started, give us a call at 850-433-0888 or contact us online.