Traumatic brain injuries can vary in severity, and symptoms can vary from patient to patient. However, one thing is for sure: a TBI can change your life forever. Many Fayetteville residents who have suffered a TBI lose the mental and physical ability to perform their job duties and are forced to stop working. These residents may need to apply for Social Security disability benefits for injuries to ensure that they are able to support themselves financially as they focus on recovery and learning how to live with a TBI.
In order to qualify for benefits, your TBI must qualify as a disability according to the Social Security Administration. Generally, the SSA will first see if your condition is listed in the SSA's impairment manual, or "Blue Book." Traumatic brain injuries are specifically listed in Section 11.18 in the Blue Book, but they may also be covered under various other Blue Book conditions, such as cerebral trauma, stroke and seizure disorder. TBIs can also fit under the criteria for various mental and neurological disorders.
Being diagnosed with a TBI is not necessarily enough to recover benefits. The SSA staff member assigned to your case will determine your residual functional capacity (RFC), or your ability to perform work-related tasks. The person evaluating your claim will consider the type of injury, duration of injury and the physical and mental limitations you face as a result of your condition. For TBIs under Section 11.18, the evaluator will consider your ability to stand from a seated position, balance while standing or walking and use your upper extremities. The evaluator may also consider your ability to comprehend and memorize information, interact with other people, concentrate and manage yourself. If you are struggling with these tasks, it may be possible for you to pursue disability benefits for your TBI.
If you have a TBI, it can be very difficult to apply for SSD benefits on your own. Fortunately, professionals are available that can help you understand your disability options and assist with your application for benefits.