Can You Get Disability With A TBI?

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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common medical condition that occurs as a result of sudden damage to the brain. The Brain Injury Association of America defines a traumatic brain injury as “an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.” The symptoms that manifest as a result of a TBI will vary significantly, as they depend on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, as well as the area of the brain that was injured. Some TBI symptoms may appear immediately and dissipate rather quickly, while others may present several days or weeks later, and further, persistent symptoms may evolve over time. TBIs are classified as mild, or moderate to severe in nature. According to professionals at the University of Missouri School of Law, “a disability applicant with lasting physical and mental difficulties from a severe TBI may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.” Hence, in order to obtain disability benefits an individual must, at the very least, be diagnosed with a moderate to severe TBI.  

Eligibility Requirements

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program under the direction of the Social Security Administration (SSA). In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits an individual must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have a medical condition that meets the Social Security’s definition of disability. The SSA uses the following five questions to determine if an individual is disabled: 

  1. Are you working?
    • If you are not working the application will be sent to DDS (Disability Determination Services) and use questions 2-5 to make a decision.
  2. Is your condition “severe”?
    • Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering—for at least 12 months.
  3. Is your condition included on the list of disabling conditions
    • The SSA maintains a list of medication conditions for each of the major body systems, of which they consider severe enough that it prevents a person from doing substantial gainful activity.
  4. Can you do the work you did previously?
    • If your TBI prevents you from preforming any of your past work you will proceed to question 5.
  5. Can you do any other type of work?
    • If you are unable to do the work you did in the past the SSA looks to see if there is other work you could do despite one’s medical impairments.

The SSA will consider one’s medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills one may have when deciding one’s eligibility. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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