Qualifying for Social Security Disability after a Stroke: Part 1

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and the third-leading cause of death in American adults. Each year, about 795,000 people suffer a stroke.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked, and the brain is deprived of oxygen. This causes brain damage that can affect the ability to move, think, and communicate. Symptoms of stroke include:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Speech difficulties
  • Language problems
  • Incontinence
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Dementia
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Depression

The symptoms are most severe immediately after the stroke.

Severe symptoms don’t always mean permanent disability. Often, the brain is able repair itself. Many stroke survivors completely recover within three to six months of a stroke. However, not everyone makes a full recovery. When a stroke victim is left permanently disabled, he may apply for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI).

In order to qualify for SSDI after a stroke, all of the following must be true:

  • The applicant is diagnosed with physical or mental impairment that prevents him from working for pay for at least 12 months.
  • The applicant has medical documentation of the condition.
  • The applicant became disabled before the age of 65.
  • The applicant worked and paid FICA payroll taxes during five of the past ten years.

Stroke survivors can qualify for SSDI in several ways:

  • You can meet the requirements of listing 11.04: central nervous system vascular accident.
  • You can meet the requirements of another disability listing, such as vision loss.
  • You can show that your level of disability is equivalent to a disability listing.
  • You can show that your disability makes it impossible for you to perform work activities.

We will provide more information about applying for SSDI after a stroke in Part 2 of this article.

Our Bellevue disability benefit lawyers help stroke survivors navigate the SSDI application process. To learn more about SSDI benefits, request a free copy of Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case. For free case evaluation, contact Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405 or email us at [email protected].