You might not know it, but March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of America, Brain Injury Awareness Month seeks to raise awareness about the causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), how to prevent them and the challenges facing those who live with a brain injury.
TBIs are head injuries that impair the normal function of the brain. The Social Security Administration defines a TBI as “damage to the brain resulting from a skull fracture, collision with an external force leading to a closed head injury, or penetration by an object that enters the skull and makes contact with brain tissue.”
Traumatic Brain Injuries are a serious health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 1.5 million Americans sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury each year. Of these:
- 230,000 are hospitalized and recover from their injuries;
- 50,000 die from their injuries; and
- 80,000 to 90,000 experience the onset of long-term disability resulting from their injuries.
It’s the last group we’d like to talk about.
Disabilities That Can Result From a Traumatic Brain Injury
Disabilities resulting from a traumatic brain injury depend on the severity and location of the injury as well as the age and general health of the individual. Common TBI-related disabilities include:
- Cognitive problems (thinking, reasoning, memory)
- Sensory processing (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch)
- Communication problems (expression or understanding)
- Mental health problems (depression, anxiety, aggression, personality changes)
More serious TBIs can result in a stupor, unresponsive state, coma or even leave the individual in a permanent vegetative state.
Making things more complicated is the fact that the actual severity of the impairments resulting from the TBI may not become apparent until several months after the injury took place. In some cases, the impairments caused by the TBI may appear to improve and then worsen, or, conversely, they could appear worse immediately following the injury but improve over time. Neurological impairments generally stabilize more rapidly than mental impairments.
Social Security Benefits for a Traumatic Brain Injury
In order to receive Social Security Disability Benefits for a traumatic brain injury, an individual must exhibit at least one of the following symptoms:
- Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation 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.
- Marked limitation in physical functioning, and in one of the following areas of mental functioning, persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the injury:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information; or
- Interacting with others; or
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
- Adapting or managing oneself.
In order to arrive at a decision, the Social Security Administration generally requires evidence from at least 3 months after the TBI occurred to fully evaluate the impact the traumatic brain injury has had on an individual’s physical and mental functioning.
We Want You to Get the Disability Benefits You are Entitled To
The Social Security disability attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates have been helping individuals all over the U.S. obtain the benefits they need after an injury or illness has left them too disabled to work.
Don’t get discouraged if your application for disability benefits has been rejected by the Social Security Administration. This happens to a lot of people. It doesn’t mean you don’t qualify or deserve benefits, it’s just that you didn’t supply the SSA with the information they needed to make a ruling in your case.
Let us handle your appeal. We know what information the SSA is looking for and will put together an appeal that fully documents and supports your claim for disability benefits. Contact the offices of Marc Whitehead & Associates to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Houston Social Security disability benefits lawyer to discuss your case. Don’t wait too long — strict deadlines apply to filing an appeal with the Social Security Administration.