When a Loved One Suffers A Brain Injury – Disability Insurance Attorneys
The very last thing that we want to do is witness our loved ones struggle. The mental, physical, and emotional challenges brought on by traumatic brain injuries can completely alter a person’s life as well as the lives of those closest to them.
According to statistics, approximately 1.5 million people are diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries annually. Unfortunately, the impact of these devastating injuries is far-reaching. Injured parties often have to go through extensive medical treatment and are forced out of work indefinitely.
In order to alleviate some of the medical costs and other financial burdens that injured parties and their families face, it is important that they seek long-term disability benefits and other benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Unfortunately, SSA does not make the process of receiving benefits for a traumatic brain injury particularly easy. In fact, it can actually be incredibly time consuming and confusing. For this reason, we highly recommend that anyone facing this challenge seek guidance from one of our brain injury disability lawyers at Edelstein Martin & Nelson right away.
Our lawyers have decades of experience helping people across the nation file for Social Security benefits after suffering an injury or having a loved one left permanently disabled due to a medical condition. Our team can meet with you for a consultation at your earliest convenience to discuss your case.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A person who suffers from a traumatic brain injury may experience an array of symptoms. These symptoms can be physical and psychological. Some of the most common physical and psychological symptoms that patients experience include:
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Changes in taste or smell
- Weakness or numbness in extremities
- Coordination problems
- Difficulty with fine motor skills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Balance problems
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Confusion or disorientation
- Sleep disturbances or insomnia
- Personality changes
- Decreased motivation or initiative
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Impulsivity or lack of self-control
- Poor judgment or decision-making
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Mood swings or emotional instability
- Irritability or agitation
- Anxiety or excessive worry
- Depression or feelings of sadness
- Increased sensitivity to stress
The unfortunate truth is that a traumatic brain injury will usually prevent the injured person from being able to work. In some cases, people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries are left permanently disabled and have to undergo extensive medical care. They may never be able to return to the job they had before they were injured, or any job at all.
If your loved one was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, you may be able to seek Social Security Disability Insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration. It is in your best interest to seek help from a disability lawyer to see what your options are.
Proving Your Brain Injury For Disability Benefits
When filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, it is crucial to provide objective medical evidence as the most important documentation. Simply submitting an MRI of your brain and a doctor’s note stating your disability will not usually suffice. Instead, medical evidence that the Social Security Administration may request includes:
- Hospital or other medical records about your traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Abnormal findings from diagnostic imaging like CT scans or MRIs of the brain.
- Follow-up notes from your treating physicians.
- Proof of medications or prescriptions related to your condition.
- Records from any physical or cognitive rehabilitative therapies you have undergone.
The SSA will also seek your doctor’s professional opinion regarding your disability. However, a simple note stating your disability is generally not enough to prove you have a disabling traumatic brain injury. Instead, they require a comprehensive assessment from your doctor that thoroughly outlines the severity of your symptoms and the resulting limitations in your work-related capabilities.
The SSA may also request an examination by one of their designated “independent” medical examiners. Alternatively, they may have your file reviewed by an independent medical consultant. It is important to note that these doctors, despite being labeled as independent, often present a significant conflict of interest as they provide services for the Social Security Disability Administration. For this reason, it is important that you have a skilled disability lawyer to help present evidence of your brain injury and guide you through the process.
Seeking guidance from a Social Security disability lawyer can help to ensure that you have the best chance of proving your case and getting the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve and are entitled to.
Types of Benefits Available for Traumatic Brain Injury Sufferers
When a person suffers from a traumatic brain injury, there are generally two types of benefits that they may receive from the SSA. These include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
The type of benefits ultimately provided to disabled individuals is generally based on various qualifications.
In general, a person will qualify for SSDI benefits if they have enough work credits to qualify. The SSA will determine how long you have worked and how much money you have paid into the fund for Social Security disability income. If you meet the criteria to qualify, you can receive these benefits. People who receive SSDI benefits are able to get insurance coverage through Medicare.
On the other hand, receiving SSI payments is possible for people who do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. In addition, SSI income is available for people who have limited financial resources. In most cases, people who receive SSI benefits are also eligible to receive health insurance coverage through their local Medicaid office.
To determine what benefits you may qualify for, it is important that you reach out to a skilled legal team right away. Your attorney will be able to review your work history with you and help give you a better idea of what benefits you may qualify for.
Meeting Blue Book Criteria for TBI Benefits
When it comes to people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries, the SSA will take various factors into consideration. According to the blue book for traumatic brain injuries, the SSA personnel will consider both physical and mental challenges associated with the injury. Some of the physical requirements that patients who suffer from TBIs must have in order to qualify for benefits include:
- Difficulties standing
- Problems walking
- Problems using their arms
- Balance issues
- Problems moving from one position to another
In general, these limitations must have lasted for approximately three months after suffering the traumatic brain injury. This can affect both arms, both of your legs or a combination of one arm and one leg.
Additional requirements for TBI sufferers to collect disability compensation are that you must have a marked limitation in your ability to function physically that is also accompanied by at least one of the following cognitive struggles. These include:
- Difficulties understanding or remembering things
- Problems applying information appropriately
- Problems finishing tasks were concentrating
- Problems adapting to change
- Struggles to complete tasks on time
- Difficulties socializing with others in a working environment
Even if you do not meet the bluebook criteria for a traumatic brain injury, you still may be able to receive benefits from the SSA. SSA personnel will generally evaluate whether the limitations that you experience as a result of your traumatic brain injuries are preventing you from being able to work. The SSA will then determine whether you are able to perform any work duties that are related to your recent job or others. It is important that you have the guidance of a disability lawyer to ensure you are able to get the benefits that you rightfully deserve.
Help with Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
There are a significant number of people across the United States that suffer from brain injuries. Unfortunately, many people are unable to work as a result of the injuries they suffer from. In these cases, the caretakers or loved ones of the injured parties may seek Social Security disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. To do so, they must fill out an application for the benefits.
Initial Application: If your loved one was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury or another type of medical disability, you should go to your local Social Security office in order to apply for benefits. In some cases, injured parties are also able to submit applications online via their website. Once your application for benefits is submitted, it can take approximately 90 days to 120 days for you to receive a response.
If you have been approved for benefits for your loved one through the Social Security Administration, the benefits will start approximately six months after the date of the disability. This will be determined by the date that your loved one was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and found to be unable to work.
Reconsideration: Once the initial application for Social Security benefits is denied by the SSA, applicants are given a period of up to 60 days to file an appeal. The appeals process can be quite time-consuming, usually taking around 3 to 5 months to reach a resolution.
Hearing/Administrative Law Judge: If the reconsideration appeal is turned down, applicants have up to 60 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. In many cases, the process can take well over a year total to resolve your case.
Appeals Council: If applicants receive a denial at the hearing level, they have the option to appeal their claim further to the Appeals Council.
Federal District Court: Following an unsuccessful Appeals Council claim, applicants have the option to escalate the case to the Federal District Court. At this stage, the court has the authority to either approve or deny the claim for benefits. They also have the ability to send the case back to SSA for additional review.
When applying for Social Security disability benefits for your loved one who has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, it is in your best interest to seek guidance from a Social Security disability lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with invaluable assistance throughout the application process and beyond.
Helping with the Appeal Process
Even though it is beneficial to engage an attorney during the initial claim process for Social Security Disability benefits, seeking legal counsel becomes even more crucial if the Social Security Administration denies your initial application. An attorney’s experience and knowledge of the rules, regulations, and eligibility criteria will ensure you remain on track and meet all of the necessary deadlines as you move into your appeal process.
When faced with a denied initial application and reconsideration, the next step often involves presenting the case before an administrative law judge. Here, your Social Security disability attorney can be of incredible value. We will diligently prepare your case for the hearing, thoroughly examine witnesses, and effectively argue the relevant medical and legal arguments on your behalf. Our team at Edelstein Martin & Nelson will provide you with guidance and skillful representation that can significantly enhance your chances of a favorable outcome.
Let Our Team Help You
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, it’s important to remember that there are resources available through the Social Security Administration to help you get the financial relief that you are entitled to and very well may need to survive. Seeking legal assistance is an important step in ensuring your rights are fully protected and that you get the disability compensation and medical care needed for the traumatic brain injury.