Is a brain injury enough to qualify for Social Security?

You were in an accident and you suffered a serious brain injury. It's changed your life forever. Now, you don't believe you can ever work again and you're thinking about applying for Social Security disability payments. Are you going to qualify?

It depends. The key is the severity of the injury and its impact on your ability to seek gainful employment. If it prevents you from working, then you may qualify. If you can still work, even if you're injured -- or, in some cases, even if you're disabled -- you could be turned down. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will determine if they think your injury meets those criteria.

If you do apply and you're turned down, though, don't think that's the end of the road. A lot of times, requests are denied for simple reasons. Maybe the claims examiner didn't look at your case properly. Maybe you did not provide sufficient information to show that you can't work. Maybe the SSA didn't get all of the records that it needed. Maybe you just made a simple error on the form and it was denied on a technicality; by fixing the error, you may suddenly qualify when you were turned down before.

The key is to know exactly what legal options you have, what the SSA is looking for, how they evaluate your claim and what you can do to help show that you really do deserve assistance. This can be complicated and time-consuming, and many people are initially turned down.

As you work through this process, it may also be wise to see if you have a right to seek compensation from the driver who caused the accident.

Source: BrainLine, "Figuring Out Social Security Benefits After a TBI," accessed March 24, 2017

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