When the damage caused by cerebral atrophy becomes so debilitating that a person is unable to work, they may be able to obtain disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Obtaining Social Security disability benefits for cerebral, or brain tissue, atrophy can be difficult. That’s because there is no specific entry for cerebral atrophy in the Social Security Administration’s “List of Impairments.” However, many of the underlying conditions that cause disabling cerebral atrophy, such as Huntington’s disease or Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), are.
In addition, severe cerebral atrophy can cause a condition called Aphasia, a brain impairment that can result in a person being unable to speak, read, or write. Like Huntington’s disease and ALS, aphasia appears on the SSA’s List of Impairments.
Even if the cerebral atrophy was not the cause or result of a listed impairment, a person may still qualify for SSA disability benefits if they can prove the limitations caused by their cerebral atrophy prevent them from being able to work.
What is Cerebral Atrophy?
Cerebral atrophy is a term used to describe the gradual, progressive loss of brain cells, which causes the brain to lose mass and shrink in size. It can occur throughout the entire brain or in one select region of the brain. When brain tissue atrophies, or shrinks, there is loss of neurons and connections between the neurons. The degree of cerebral atrophy can have a big impact on a person’s ability to function.
For most people, cerebral atrophy occurs naturally with age. After the human brain attains its maximum mass (at around age 25), it slowly begins to lose mass. The rate of loss accelerates as we get older. By age 75, most of us have lost 15% percent of that maximum brain mass!
This may sound bad, but don’t get too upset — most people don’t experience any real mental or physical decline as a result of normal, age-related brain tissue atrophy.
When Cerebral Atrophy Becomes a Problem
Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which the brain atrophy advances to a state where it does affect a person’s ability to function. Disabling cerebral atrophy can be result from a number of medical conditions, such as a traumatic brain injury, stroke, infection, drug and alcohol abuse, malnutrition, and a wide range of diseases and disorders, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
- Cerebral palsy
- Type II diabetes
- Pick’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Bipolar disorders
Many of the symptoms associated with advanced cerebral atrophy prevent those afflicted with the condition from being able to maintain a job, including:
- Changes in mood, personality or behavior
- Trouble with thinking, learning, planning and comprehension
- Difficulty with judgment
- Memory loss
- Aphasia – inability to speak, read or write
- Vision impairment
- Muscle weakness
SSA Disability Benefits for Cerebral Brain Tissue Atrophy
To meet the qualifications for SSA disability benefits, the signs and symptoms of a person’s cerebral atrophy must result in a marked or extreme limitation of physical and mental functioning that prevents them from performing any meaningful work. Physical functioning includes standing, balancing, walking, and the use of both upper extremities for fine and gross movements. Mental functioning includes:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information
- Interacting with others
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
- Adapting or managing oneself
Get Help From an Experienced Cerebral Atrophy Disability Benefits Attorney
The Social Security disability lawyers at Marc Whitehead & Associates have helped many disabled workers get the disability benefits they need, despite the fact that their disabling condition doesn’t appear in the SSA’s List of Impairments. This includes cerebral atrophy.
It’s not uncommon for a first time Social Security disability benefit claim to be denied. In most cases it’s not because the applicant didn’t deserve the benefits, but merely because the applicant failed to provide the SSA with the kind of thorough information they need in order to make a decision.
We can help put together a claim package that provides the SSA with all the information they need to make a decision in your favor. If your claim for cerebral atrophy disability benefits has been denied, we can help you appeal the SSA’s decision by addressing the problems that caused your claim to be rejected the first time around.
Call the law offices of Marc Whitehead & Associates at 800.562.9830 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation with one of our experienced cerebral atrophy disability benefits lawyers.