It is important to understand that those who have suffered from a stroke are not only faced with physical challenges. The financial stress can be just as overwhelming. The aftermath of a stroke can leave a family in emotional and financial turmoil.
Fortunately, the condition does not have to wreak financial havoc on a family in the long term. There may be resources available. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for those in need.
Oftentimes, individuals who have suffered from a severe stroke can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits to help make ends meet. If you or someone you know has suffered from a stroke and are unable to work due to the effects the stroke has had on your body, SSDI benefits can be there to help.
Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and they are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Each year, approximately 750,000 people will suffer from a stroke.
The severity of the strokes may vary, but many of these individuals are left unable to work, unable to earn an income and unable to provide for themselves and their families.
The Future is Not Bleak
The good news is that people who are unable to work due to the effects of a stroke do not have to live without an income or medical insurance. Social Security Disability benefits can help offset some of the financial burden caused by this catastrophic event.
The monthly checks that are sent by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can help stroke victims make ends meet and the Medicare benefits can help pay for the ongoing care that is needed by many stroke patients.
Applying for SSDI Benefits after a Stroke
Unfortunately, while a stroke patient may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, it does not mean that his or her initial application for these benefits will be approved by the SSA. In fact, nearly 70 percent of initial disability claims are denied by the SSA.
This is why it is important to consider the services of a qualified attorney when preparing your disability claim.
A Social Security Disability attorney can help you prepare your Social Security Disability application, ensuring that it is presented in the best light possible to the SSA and that the adjudicator reviewing the file fully understands the severe impact that the condition has had on the applicant's life.
Just remember, even though an attorney can increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits from the SSA, you will still need to wait the 6-month waiting period before your disability benefits can begin.
That does not mean you should not apply immediately for Social Security Disability benefits, but keep in mind that benefits will not begin until six months have passed from the date the stroke occurred. Once the benefits kick in, however, the monthly payments received from the SSA can truly be a lifesaver.
How The Blue Book Can Help You With Your Claim
If you have suffered a disabling stroke, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA has a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book.
If you can meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing your disability claim will be approved and you will be awarded disability benefits.
Most disability claims are denied on the initial review, but the cause for denial is a lack of supporting documentation and hard medical evidence.
Be sure to complete the claim form in detail and provide supporting medical evidence, such as lab work, scan results, x-rays, physician notes, neurological tests, exam records, and so forth.
Medically Qualifying For Disability Benefits
Strokes can qualify as a disability under Listing 11.04, which refers to a Vascular Insult to the Brain. To meet the criteria of a listing, you must show that you have suffered at least one of these symptoms for at least three months after having suffered a stroke:
- The inability to speak or write effectively because of either expressive aphasia or sensory aphasia OR
- The inability to control the movement of at least two extremities despite undergoing at least three months treatment. This must cause extreme difficulty in your ability to balance while standing or walking, to use your arms, or to stand up from a seated position OR
- Marked physical problems along with a marked limitation in any of the following – thinking, interacting, finishing tasks, regulating emotions or controlling behaviors
The SSA refers to “marked” problems as seriously limiting, worse than moderate but less than extreme. If your stroke has caused vision loss, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits using the listing for vision loss, or if you suffered hearing loss, through the listing for hearing loss.
Using A Medical Vocational Allowance
If you cannot meet the criteria of a listing, but you are disabled, you may qualify through a medical vocational allowance. This approach takes your age, medical conditions, work history, skills, and educational background all into consideration.
Your treating physician will need to provide a residual functional capacity (RFC), which details your restrictions and limitations.
Your RFC should indicate how long you can stand, how far you can walk, how much you can carry, if you can lift, if you can squat or bend, if you can reach and grasp, and how often you must reposition yourself. It will allow the disability
examiner to determine if you are able of working, and if you can work, what kid of work you are capable of performing.
Regardless of the approach you use to be approved, you will need to provide hard medical evidence to support your claim. You should provide a detailed list of all your medical providers along with their contact details and the dates of service.
Your disability lawyer will review your claim to make sure all your medical records are made available for review so your claim can be given fair consideration with all the evidence made available to them.
Can I Continue Working After A Stroke?
Whether you are able to work or not is dependent on the severity of your stroke and how it has affected your ability to work and perform routine tasks. A stroke can affect both your physical and mental capacity to work and earn a living.
Your memory, concentration, ability to focus, mood, behavior, and social life can be affected by a stroke. Your ability to walk, stand, get up from a seated position, use your extremities, grasp items, and so forth can also be affected.
A stroke may affect your hearing, vision, or taste. While some people only suffer one side effect from the stroke, others suffer multiple problems. Some individuals make a full recovery, but others are less fortunate and don’t return to their pre-stroke levels even after intensive care and treatment.
Make sure you tell your physician all your symptoms and limitations, detailing how the stroke has affected you. Your physician will document everything in your medical notes.
Those medical notes will be reviewed by the disability examiner to determine if you qualify for disability benefits. If you are unable to work because of a stroke, you should enlist the help of a disability attorney.
A lawyer will know the best way to proceed with your claim.
Enlist The Help Of A Disability Attorney
If you are unable to work because a stroke has left you with physical or mental impairments, you should consult with a disability attorney.
A disability lawyer will review the details of your case and will go over your medical record to determine if you have the supporting evidence your claim needs to be approved by the SSA.
Your lawyer will also know if you need additional medical testing or a statement from your physician to ensure the severity of your condition is fully understood so they can determine if you are able to work and earn a living.
When you retain a disability lawyer, you will not have to pay anything upfront. Instead, your lawyer will take the case on a contingency basis.
That means that your attorney will not get paid until you win your claim and you receive backpay. At that point, your lawyer will receive 25 percent of your backpay – not to exceed $6,000.
You can start your disability claim online at ssa.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213 and speaking with a Social Security employee. You can schedule an appointment at one of 1,300 field offices across the country.
To share the details of your case with an attorney, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form. An attorney who represents disabled workers in your area will review the details of your disability claim for a stroke.
A lawyer will increase your chances of a successful claim and will know the best way to prove the severity of your condition.