Can You Obtain Social Security Disability Benefits After Suffering a Stroke?

social security disability benefits with pens and paper

A stroke can cause a wide variety of physical, psychological and behavioral problems that make everyday life much more challenging. These issues can also prevent the victim from being able to work.

If you or a loved one suffered a stroke, you should consider applying for Social Security Disability. Stroke victims may qualify for benefits if they can prove they meet certain criteria.

However, you need detailed evidence to prove your eligibility. That is why many applicants decide to seek legal help. Working with an experienced lawyer who knows how to obtain the information you need reduces the risk of errors and delays, which can also help qualified applicants get benefits sooner.

Sigman Janssen’s Green Bay Social Security Disability attorneys have helped many applicants obtain benefits, and there are no upfront costs with our services.

Give us a call to discuss your application: (877) 888-5201.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the brain, which causes brain cells to die. Strokes can be caused by blood clots (ischemic strokes) or ruptures in blood vessels that lead to the brain (hemorrhagic strokes).

How Does a Stroke Affect the Victim?

Strokes destroy brain cells, which can lead to many serious physical and cognitive problems. If you suffer a stroke on the left side of your brain, the right side of your body will be affected. That means you could have complete or partial paralysis on your right side, which would make it much harder to complete daily tasks like grooming, bathing and getting dressed.

You could also suffer cognitive issues, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Trouble speaking
  • Changes in personality – you may be more cautious or slow to make decisions, even though you were not like that before

If you suffer a stroke on the right side of your brain, you may suffer visual impairment.

Other long-term effects of a stroke may include:

  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Trouble with reasoning
  • Difficulty understanding speech
  • Depression
  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • And more

Is a Stroke a Disability Under Social Security Guidelines?

The Social Security Administration’s Blue Book has a listing for strokes (11.04 Vascular insult to the brain). If you can prove your medical issues fit the criteria for this listing, you may qualify for disability benefits.

You must demonstrate one of the following:

  • Sensory or motor aphasia that causes ineffective speech or communication that lasts for at least three consecutive months after the injury occurred
  • Disorganized motor function in two extremities that severely limits your ability to stand up while seated, balance while you are walking or standing up, or using your upper extremities; this reduced motor function must last at least three months in a row
  • Severe limitation of your physical functioning and severe limitation in at least one of these areas of mental functioning lasting for at least three months:
    • Interacting with other people
    • Concentrating, persisting with tasks or maintaining pace
    • Managing oneself or adapting
    • Understanding, remembering or applying information

You will also need to prove you have not been able to work for the past year or that you will be unable to work for a minimum of one year.

What if You Do Not Qualify Under This Listing?

You may be surprised to learn that many people who are approved for benefits do not meet the criteria for one of the listings in the Blue Book.

If you suffer a stroke but cannot qualify under the listing for a stroke, you may still qualify for disability benefits under a listing for a visual or hearing impairment. If you cannot qualify under a listing for visual or hearing impairment, you may be able to get a medical-vocational allowance. This is an evaluation of your medical issues and how they affect your ability to work.

You must undergo a residual functional capacity evaluation to determine if you are eligible for disability benefits. This evaluation determines your physical and mental capabilities as it relates to your ability to work. For example:

  • How long can you stand up, walk or sit?
  • Are you able to understand and carry out tasks?
  • Can you handle changes to your environment?
  • Can you concentrate on work?

Does a Stroke Automatically Qualify For Disability Benefits?

The Social Security Administration has a compassionate allowances program that fast-tracks the approval process for certain conditions. Although a stroke is a severe injury, it generally does not qualify for this program. Typically, you can only get a compassionate allowance for conditions like early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, autoimmune diseases, certain cancers and other rare diseases.

Evidence To Prove Your Disability

You will need detailed medical evidence to show that you qualify for disability benefits. This evidence is likely to include:

  • Records of your initial treatment and diagnosis
  • Records of any physical therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy you have undergone
  • Documentation of permanent impairments caused by the stroke, such as difficulty with speaking, motor skills, remembering things, balance, coordination and more
  • Documentation of your long-term prognosis
  • Doctor’s notes from follow-up appointments to determine if your symptoms have improved or stayed the same
  • Notes from appointments with mental health professionals to show your psychological and behavioral problems since the stroke

Call Sigman Janssen To Discuss Your Social Security Disability Application

Many people who apply for disability benefits give up after their initial application is rejected. However, many initial applications are rejected, even though the applicants may have a medical condition that meets eligibility criteria.

That is why it is important to discuss the issue with an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Sigman Janssen can review your situation to determine if you might be eligible for benefits. We can also handle the application or appeal process on your behalf, at no upfront cost. Our firm has helped many with disabilities obtain federal benefits.

Call today to find out how we may be of assistance. Phone: (877) 888-5201.