As the caregiver of a loved one with a traumatic brain injury, you can apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of your patient. Benefits may be available for the claimant through one or both disability programs administered by the SSA. After being approved, your loved one will receive back benefits as well as ongoing monthly payments that can be used to help cover living expenses, medical bills, and any other associated costs.
How Your Loved One Can Medically Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits
The SSA determines if an individual is disabled by comparing his or her condition to the Blue Book, which is the SSA medical guide. The Blue Book has hundreds of different qualifying conditions and each condition has its own qualifying criteria.
You can help your loved one qualify for disability benefits by comparing his or her condition the Blue Book listing equivalent to traumatic brain injuries. The qualification can vary depending on the diagnosis of the individual and the severity of their condition.
There is a listing in the Blue Book for TBI. The listing indicates a TBI as brain damage that is caused by a closed head injury, a skull fracture, penetration by an object into the brain tissue, or a closed head injury. Listing 11.18 of the Blue Book applies to claimants with a TBI. To qualify for disability benefits using this listing, your medical records must indicate one of the following:
The inability to control the movement of at least two extremities – either an arm and a leg or two arms or both legs – for a minimum of three consecutive months following the date of the injury. This must lead to an extreme amount of difficulty in balancing while walking or standing, to use the arms, or to stand up after having been seated OR
“Marked” physical difficulties along with a “marked” limitation lasting for at least three months after the injury in any of the following:
- Interacting with others
- Finishing tasks
- Regulating emotions and controlling behavior
“Marked” means worse than moderate, but not considered extreme. Therefore, it is very limiting.
Becoming a Designated Payee
A caregiver can also manage all the monthly benefits that you receive from the SSA on behalf of a disabled person. All Social Security Disability payments are electronically paid, so you will just need access to the claimant’s bank account.
The benefits can be used to cover any necessary expense, such as utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, medical costs, and groceries. Make sure you save all the receipts in case an inquiry is conducted by the SSA to ensure that the benefits were properly spent on behalf of the claimant.
How To Get Your Loved One’s Disability Application Underway
You can complete a Social Security Disability application on behalf of someone with a traumatic brain injury. He or she will need to sign specific documents, unless you have power of attorney or are a legal guardian. The claimant must sign the application as well as consent forms, which give the SSA permission to obtain medical records and supporting
A lawyer aid in the application process. With their help, you can make sure you file a claim on time and with enough medical evidence. To get in touch with a disability attorney that takes cases in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page.