People who have experienced a traumatic brain injury may wonder if they qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Not all brain injuries keep someone from earning a living. Like any medical problem, Social Security examines the extent to which the person suffers impairment.
The Social Security website describes the criteria used by the agency to figure out if a TBI patient qualifies for disability.
After sustaining a head injury, you may have difficulties moving your body. These limitations stem from your brain not being able to control your motor functions. These can include disorganized motions in two of your extremities. Examples include a severe impairment in standing up from a seated posture, holding your balance as you walk or stand, or using your upper limbs. These limitations must last for at least three months following your injury.
Even if you only have a single marked physical impairment, an additional cognitive problem could qualify you for disability. This combination of physical and mental problems must last for at least three months consecutively. A mental issue must include at least one of the following:
- Difficulty with memory or information application
- Problems with social interaction
- Inadequate personal management and adaptation
- Issues with concentration or sustaining a reasonable pace
As the FDA points out, three out of every four TBIs are mild, but moderate brain injuries can still produce memory problems, confusion or changes in behavior, so even a single mental issue combined with a physical problem may reduce your earning ability.
Social Security accepts a variety of evidence to evaluate a brain disorder, both medical and non-medical in nature. Statements you and your friends, family and co-workers make could complete a picture of your condition and make your case for disability.