Neurocognitive disorders involve thinking difficulties caused by damage to the brain. Although sometimes neurocognitive disorders can be short-term, most often they are permanent and often progressively get worse. There are many ways that our brains can be damaged. Traumatic brain injuries, strokes, infections, vascular disease, and genetic conditions are just a few of the possible causes. Neurocoginitve disorders include Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury, among other conditions.
When determining whether you qualify for disability benefits, Social Security is not going to focus on your specific type of disorder. They will instead focus on evaluating if you are able to function in a work environment given your physical and mental limitations, age, and education.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder, you may be awarded Social Security disability benefits if you can prove—with solid medical evidence—that your impairment has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or longer and it prevents you from working. The Social Security Administration has two programs which may be able to offer you financial assistance—Social Security Disability Insurance—known as SSDI—for those who have worked in the past and made Social Security contributions, and Supplemental Security Income—known as SSI—designed to help those with little or no income. Because the road to benefits can be difficult to navigate, it’s very helpful to hire an experienced local disability attorney to help through the process and present your case.
The SSA has a set of procedures in place to identify disabilities that are medically eligible for benefits. These procedures are published in a handbook known as the “Blue Book,” and it includes a list of various disabling conditions known as “listings.” As you can imagine, the listings for neurocognitive disorders are quite lengthy.
While few people meet the requirements of the Blue Book listings, you may still be approved based upon your age, education, and work experience. Social Security will make this determination based on whether you can sustain competitive employment on a consistent, full-time basis, or an equivalent schedule.
Winning disability benefits can be a confusing, frustrating, and tough process. If you or someone you care about is coping with a neurocognitive disorder and is unable to work, call or email us at Cuddigan Law for a free evaluation of your situation.