How Caregivers Can Help Apply For Benefits Due to an SPI

How Caregivers Can Help Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits Because Of A Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are life-altering. These injuries can be from sports accidents, a slip and fall, car crashes, boating accidents, workplace injuries, and so forth. Most injuries are caused by trauma, and while not all spinal cord injuries qualify for disability benefits, there are many that do.

Some spinal cord injuries are caused by infection, tumors, inflammatory disease, or may be congenital or genetic in nature. If you are the caregiver of a loved one who is unable to work because of a spinal cord injury, you may be able to help them apply for Social Security Disability benefits.

How Your Loved One Can Medically Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two different disability programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If your patient or loved one is able to meet the required medical criteria that shows the injury will lead to permanent and full disability that will last for 12 months or longer or lead to death, then he or she will be approved for monthly disability benefits.

A medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, is used to determine if an individual qualifies for disability. Disability Determination Services will review the claim and compare the supporting documentation and medical records to the requirements of the listing in the Blue Book.

The SSA doesn’t really care about the cause of the problem but will focus on whether the condition meets the required degree of functional los as required by the listing for spinal cord disorders. Listing 11.08 applies to spinal cord disorders, and there are three ways in which a listing can be met, and an individual can qualify for disability benefits.

There must be complete loss of function of any part of the body because of the spinal cord injury, such as arm or leg paralysis; or, abnormal ability of movement in at least two extremities resulting in extreme difficulty in the ability to balance while standing or walking, stand up from a seated position, or use the hands/arms because of the spinal cord condition; or, a significant spinal cord problem that isn’t severe enough to be considered extreme but combined with a serious limitation in a mental area, such as the ability to provide self-care or adapt to new changes, social interactions, the ability to understand, remember or use information.

How Caregivers Can Help Apply For Benefits Due to a spinal cord injury

Becoming a Designated Payee

If you are the caregiver of someone who has a spinal cord injury and is unable to work, you may serve as their designated payee for their disability checks. Since all Social Security payments are sent electronically, you will need to have access to the claimant’s bank account. Keep receipts and documentation that shows how the funds were used for the claimant in case the SSA makes an inquiry into the account.

How To Get Your Loved One’s Disability Application Underway

Hard medical evidence that supports a disability claim is a necessity. If you are helping a loved one apply for disability benefits, you have three options for getting the application underway, either online, over the phone, or in person at a local field office. Gather up a detailed list of medical providers and contact details.

A Social Security disability attorney can help you apply on behalf of your loved one. To get in contact with a disability lawyer that takes cases in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page.

Additional Resources