Individuals seeking disability benefits will need to meet very specific criteria as outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). To assist those in need of financial assistance, the SSA has created an online manual that lists all of the conditions that could potentially qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits.
Often referred to as the “Blue Book,” this listing of impairments plays a vital role in the determination of disability benefits.
How the Blue Book Can Help You Medically Qualify for Disability for Your Stroke
If you have had a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and are unable to work as a result, there is a good possibility that the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program can help. A stroke is listed in neurological section 11.04, vascular insult to the brain, of the Blue Book.
To be approved for Social Security benefits for a stroke, individuals must be impacted by one of the following:
- Sensory or motor aphasia resulting in ineffective speech or communication persisting for at least three consecutive months after the insult. This means that since having your stroke, there is an extreme limitation in your ability to understand or convey your message in simple spoken language.
- Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, such as your hands, arms, fingers, or legs, 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 three consecutive months after the insult.
- Marked limitation in physical functioning and in one of the following areas of mental functioning, both persisting for at least three consecutive months after the injury. Understanding, remembering, or applying information, interacting with others, concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace, adapting or managing oneself.
What Evidence Do I Need to Win My Stroke Claim?
The Blue Book is not only a resource for understanding what medical conditions might qualify for Social Security disability benefits, but it also lists the medical evidence needed to support your claim.
According to the Blue Book, the SSA seeks both medical and non-medical evidence when assessing the effects that your stroke has had on your ability to work and function in everyday life.
Medical evidence provided should include a full medical history, including examination findings. As the SSA places more weight on the opinion of experts, it is preferable to be evaluated by a doctor that specializes in strokes, such as a neurologist.
Your neurologist should carefully document any physical and mental limitations that have impacted you since your stroke occurred.
Vital for any stroke claim will be medical imaging such as computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electroencephalography (EEG). The SSA will want to see the impact that your stroke has had on your brain, including how well the vascular insult is resolving over time.
Emergency room and all surgical records related to your stroke should also be included in your medical documentation.
As with all conditions, it is imperative to provide descriptions of any prescribed treatment, as well as responses to those treatments. Medical records from physical therapists or occupational therapists are often helpful.
Finally, the SSA will consider non-medical evidence such as statements made by you or others about your impairments, restrictions, daily activities, or efforts to work.
Can A Lawyer Help Me Win My Claim for My Stroke?
The limitations that individuals face after suffering from a stroke vary widely. While some people may only experience minor symptoms, others may be completely disabled.
An experienced Social Security lawyer can help to ensure that the full range of your post-stroke limitations are carefully reflected in your application. In fact, it’s the job of a disability lawyer to use your medical evidence to paint a clear picture of your case.
The Social Security Disability application process is full of various rules and deadlines that are challenging to understand, even for those who are medically savvy. Obtaining the services of a disability advocate or lawyer will significantly enhance your chances of a successful claim.