Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are on the rise in the United States and are increasingly becoming a problem. From 2006 to 2014, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths associated with TBIs rose a staggering 53 percent. The effects of a TBI can be far reaching. They can affect motor skill, memory, thinking, emotions and more.

With 1.7 new cases of TBI each year and about 5.3 million Americans living with a disabilitycaused by TBI, it’s no wonder that the Social Security Administration (SSA) recently added TBI to its list of impairments covered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

TBI and SSDI

The SSA added TBI to its list of covered conditions – known as “the blue book” – in 2016. For a TBI to meet SSDI eligibility, a person’s condition must meet at least one of two criteria:

  1. Impaired motor function in two extremities — including arms, legs, hands, wrists, fingers shoulders – resulting in extreme difficulty standing from a seated position, balancing while standing or walking, or limiting the use of the upper extremities. These symptoms must persist for at least three consecutive months.
  2. A decline in physical function and a decline in mental functioning, affecting understanding, memory, interactions with others, concentration and taking care of one’s self.

All SSDI claims have three baisc qualifying criteria. The disability must keep you from doing your previous work. It much make finding new work prohibitively difficult. And doctors expect your disability to last at least one year or to result in your death.

Filing a claim

If you or a loved one has suffered a debilitating TBI, you might qualify for SSDI benefits to make up for lost income. The application process for SSDI is intimidating for many, and a majority of applications are initially rejected. You may consider hiring an attorney to help you gather evidence for your claim and assist with the paperwork. Qualified legal counsel can also be an invaluable resource if you face initial rejection and you wish to appeal.