Stroke: How to Qualify for Social Security Disability
A stroke (also known as a cerebral vascular accident) occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. As a result, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. The loss of these brains cells results in a person losing the abilities that are controlled by that part of the brain, such as memory or muscle control.
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A stroke can have many different causes, such as a blocked artery or leaking of a blood vessel. There are also variable severity levels of a stroke. For example, a person may only experience a temporary disruption of blood flow to their brain. This incident is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), otherwise known as a “mini-stroke.” The most common symptoms associated with a stroke are difficulty speaking or comprehending, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, trouble with seeing in one or both eyes, headache, or loss of balance.
Stroke is a condition that is specifically listed in Social Security’s Blue Book listings of impairments. For a claimant to be found disabled based on the listing requirements, they must prove that their condition meets or equals the severity level of listing 11.04. To meet this listing, a claimant must provide medical evidence supporting that they suffer from one of the following three months after the stroke occurred: 1) sensory or motor aphasia resulting in ineffective speech or communication; or 2) significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.
Even if the residual effects from a claimant’s stroke do not meet or equal the requirements detailed in a listing, they may still be found disabled based on the physical and mental limitations resulting from their condition. For instance, a person who suffers a stroke may be left with residual weakness and instability in their lower extremities. Also, there may be some residual weakness and numbness in one or both arms. These limitations, either singly or combined, may preclude a person from performing even primary work activities, such as lifting, carrying, standing, walking, sitting, and using their hands for fine or gross manipulation. Depending on the severity of these limitations, the claimant may be unable to sustain full-time, competitive employment.
Premier Disability Services, LLC has extensive experience assisting claimants who have suffered a stroke with obtaining their Social Security Disability benefits. If you have suffered a stroke and you are unable to work, please contact our office for a free evaluation of your claim.