Traumatic Brain Injuries Are Hard to Diagnose But Can Cause Disability

Traumatic Brain Injuries, TBIs for short, are caused by a sudden blow to the head which causes damage to the brain and often are accompanied by bleeding inside the head or swelling of the brain. A whole host of serious medical problems can result from a TBI—stroke and epilepsy among them. It is estimated that every year one and half million Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries caused by falls, auto accidents, sports injuries, and other violent encounters. Many of our veterans have returned from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan with TBIs caused by IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

If you have suffered a TBI and want to apply for Social Security disability benefits, it is important to remember that, as with most disorders, it is not the name of the impairment that qualifies you for disability benefits, but the symptoms…that is, if the symptoms prevent you from working. Some TBIs are hard to diagnose and determine the degree of severity.

A traumatic brain injury claim must be supported by medical evidence such as physical examinations, scans, psychological testing or lab tests. Additionally, you must demonstrate that you have significant functional limitations as a result of your TBI, which prevent you from performing any of your past work  or any other type of work that your age, education, and skills might qualify you for. 

TBIs are different from other impairments. It is often difficult to assess long term outcomes after a brain injury. Social Security recognizes this. With other impairments, individuals cannot receive disability benefits until after they have been unable to work for at least 12 months. But with TBIs, Social Security may judge a person as disabled as soon as three months after a serious injury to the brain.

There are many more rules and conditions governing TBI and disability. Our experience has shown that TBI disability cases are complex and difficult but they are winnable. Call us at (402) 933-5405 for a free evaluation of your case.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska