Can I Collect Social Security Disability for a Closed Head Injury?
There are many different terms used for a severe injury to the brain. The most commonly used term is “closed head injury”. Physicians may call this an “intracranial injury”. And the Social Security Administration typically uses the term “Traumatic brain injury” or “TBI”.
Our lawyers have helped hundreds of individuals with closed head injuries get the maximum Social Security Disability benefits for which they qualify. Our lawyers understand that – no matter what you call it – when the brain is traumatically injured by an external force, the short and long term effects of a closed head injury can be devastating.
Long after the exterior wounds have healed, a closed head injury can continue to create significant impairment. We realize that, while you may look like you did before your injury, you may now be in considerable discomfort & pain, and be unable to function – even though you may “look fine” on the outside.
A person with a closed head injury can develop mild to very serious cognitive problems that render them unable to work. Additionally, a traumatic brain injury can leave a person with headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and sound, seizures, personality changes, unexplained anger, depression and fatigue.
Filing for Social Security Disability with a Closed Head Injury
Oddly, traumatic brain injury (TBI) doesn’t have its own individual listing in the “Social Security Impairment Manual” (also called the Blue Book). Instead, closed head injury cases are evaluated by the Social Security Administration under the criteria listed for other conditions including: epilepsy, cerebral trauma, stroke, seizure disorder(s), and other neurological and organic mental disorders.
This means that getting Social Security for a closed head injury is not automatic or easy.
The Social Security Administration disability determination for a closed head injury – like all SSD cases – is based entirely on something called “Residual Functional Capacity” or “RFC”. In other words the SSA looks at the ability of the SSD claimant to perform “basic tasks necessary to perform successfully in an employment situation”.
What this means is that a big part of the determination process for a closed head injury SSD claim will focused heavily on the measurable effects on the applicant’s ability to function in the workplace.
Diagnosis of the closed head injury itself will be based on clinical evidence and lesion occurrences – including MRIs, CT scans, and X-Rays- in addition to neuropsychological examination. But, showing that there is a closed head injury is not enough by itself. It must also be proven to the SSA that the brain injury also impairs the individual to such a degree that he or she cannot be employed.
So, when filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) on the basis of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis, it is important that all appropriate medical evidence is presented, AND that detailed evidence of the applicant’s functional restrictions are also documented.
Put another way, the extent of your impairment will be determined on more than just a diagnosis – and will be based on the type, duration, frequency, and debilitating effect of symptoms rather than diagnosis alone.
Social Security Disability Lawyers
For this reason, with closed head injuries (TBIs) it is often extremely important to have an experienced Social Security lawyer by your side. Our experienced Social Security lawyers know what documentation the SSA is looking for – and can ensure that all medical evidence and proof of functional restriction is submitted properly and in a timely fashion.
If you have suffered a closed head injury or traumatic brain injury, our experienced lawyers are here to help you get the help you need so you can collect the maximum Social Security benefits for which you qualify.