Traumatic brain injuries, which range from mild concussions to deadly injuries, affect over 1 million people annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sadly, there is no known treatment that can reverse the effects of a TBI. Medications and rehabilitation may help alleviate some effects, but for many victims, brain injuries have life-changing consequences.
Some people in Las Vegas, Nevada, may lose the ability to perform their jobs after experiencing a TBI. In extreme cases, TBI victims may be incapable of returning to any type of work. These individuals may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they can demonstrate the significant limitations associated with the injury.
Devastating TBI effects
A TBI can affect cognitive and physical abilities. TBI victims may experience changes in emotions and sensory perception. Victims may have difficulty communicating, understanding others, remembering things and thinking logically. Physically, victims may lose motor skills, balance and coordination. Victims also have a higher risk of future health problems, such as seizures and Alzheimer’s. Collectively, these changes can affect a victim’s ability to perform physical or cognitive tasks and successfully work with others.
The Social Security Administration automatically recognizes a traumatic brain injury as a disabling condition if it causes epilepsy, seizures or organic mental disorders. TBI victims who don’t experience these effects may still prove they have a disabling condition. Neuropsychological tests can demonstrate how a TBI has affected an individual and his or her ability to work. Written statements from people who know the individual can also help illustrate the physical, mental and emotional impacts of the injury.
Filing for benefits
When filing for SSD benefits, applicants must provide extensive medical and personal information. The personal information allows the SSA to verify whether an applicant has sufficient earning history to qualify for benefits. The medical information helps the SSA evaluate whether the individual can find gainful employment. Applicants should provide as much medical documentation as possible. Helpful information includes the initial diagnosis, hospitalization records, the treatment history and doctor’s notes about the functional effects of the injury.
If a TBI victim has already filed for SSD and the claim has been denied, the decision must be appealed within 60 days. Before appealing, however, applicants should consider seeking help from a disability attorney. An attorney can help a victim document the full effects of the injury and prepare for the appeals process. This can improve the likelihood of the individual obtaining the benefits necessary to manage the permanent, life-changing consequences of a TBI.