Edwards & Kautz
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Is Traumatic Brain Injury considered a disability for Social Security purposes?

Short answer? Yes--and this is why. 

For an in-depth look at this issue, it helps to have the knowledge of a disability attorney. An individual afflicted with a traumatic brain injury ("TBI") may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits (Title II Disability Insurance Benefits and/or Title XVI Supplemental Security Income).  In fact, the Social Security Administration ("SSA") even has its own TBI "Listing," which is 11.18 Traumatic brain injury.

A Listing describes those impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any substantial gainful activity (which is working at a job). The SSA has many Listings for different health conditions, and many of these conditions are usually permanent.

What is a TBI?

A TBI is a serious brain injury that can be caused by different events, but typically is the result of trauma; for example, a car crash or terrible fall that leads to a head injury.  Symptoms of TBI include cognitive differences: so, changes in thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering; mood swings; social functioning; and personality changes. You will find the TBI Listing below:

11.18 Traumatic brain injury

characterized by A or B:A. Disorganization of motor function in two extremities (see 11.00D1), resulting in an extreme limitation (see 11.00D2) in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities, persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the injury.ORB. Marked limitation (see 11.00G2) in physical functioning (see 11.00G3a), and in one of the following areas of mental functioning, persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the injury:
  1. Understanding, remembering, or applying information (see 11.00G3b(i)); or
  2. Interacting with others (see 11.00G3b(ii)); or
  3. Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace (see 11.00G3b(iii)); or
  4. Adapting or managing oneself (see 11.00G3b(iv)).

Is Your TBI Considered a Disability?

So, as you can see, the SSA specifically defines TBI. And unlike many Listings, the TBI requires the impairment to last for at least 3 months after the injury if your TBI symptoms meet those factors, whereas others require that the disability last or be expected to last for 12 months or result in death. Those other sections referenced above (for example, 11.00D1) help define and explain the terms and phrases used in the Listing.In addition, just because a TBI victim does not meet the TBI Listing does not mean that a Social Security disability claim will be unsuccessful.For example, if your TBI prevents you from doing your past work AND prevents you from adjusting to other types of work, then you could possibly have a successful disability case.Not sure if your TBI qualifies you for social security disability? If you or a loved one suffer from a traumatic brain injury, contact Edwards & Kautz, PLLC to receive counsel on your disability claim from our expert disability attorneys at 866-795-5087.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

Phone: 270-908-4914
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