Can I Work After a Stroke (Cerebrovascular Accident)?

Social Security Benefits After Suffering a Stroke

If you have suffered a stroke that results in long-term or permanent impairments that make working no longer possible, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. To qualify for disability benefits after a stroke, your condition must meet the SSA's guidelines, outlined in the SSA's Blue Book.

If you are among the 75% of stroke sufferers who has suffered residual effects, you may find yourself unable to handle your daily chores and tasks, let alone work. A stroke can impact your ability to communicate, use of your arms or legs, and impact your vision.

A stroke can be the result of a brain hemorrhage or a blocked blood vessel. The effects can vary, but almost always stroke patients experience some level of numbness, sensation loss, or weakness that impacts one side of the body. While some individuals only experience stroke symptoms on the short-term basis, others experience these symptoms for the rest of their lives. If you are one of those individuals who suffers from irreversible damage and you are unable to work, you may be eligible to receive monthly benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

If you are unable to work because of a Stroke, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Impacting Your Ability to Work

You can suffer multiple symptoms after experiencing a stroke. If your left with residual effects that impact your mobility, such as severe weakness on one side that makes the use of one arm or one leg challenging and you find yourself unable to lift and carry things, you may be approved for disability. If you have been left with vision problems or the inability to speak clearly because the stroke impacted one side of your face, that can impact your ability to socialize, communicate and work.

Strokes can cause brain damage, so you may have difficulty concentrating, remembering details or how to do tasks, or communicating messages or issues to the proper staff. All these can seriously impact your ability to perform your work duties day to day. If one side of your body was left paralyzed, you may have to drag your leg or foot, which impacts your mobility and your ability to stand in one position for prolonged timeframes. Because of the inability to use an arm, you may find yourself unable to lift, carry, or grasp things as you normally would.

Limitations for Specific Jobs

If you have suffered a stroke, it can impact your ability to perform specific jobs. If one side of your body has been left with severe muscle weakness, you will find yourself unable to be a mechanic, work with machinery, operate saws, use hand tools, or do any kind of construction work. You wouldn’t be able to climb ladders or run quickly, so you could no longer perform the duties of a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic. Communication difficulties can leave you unable to serve as a receptionist or as an educator.

Your driving can be impacted by your vision loss or your weakness on one side of your body, so you won’t be able to deliver mail, drive a delivery truck, or work as a cross-country truck driver. Because you no longer have full use of both arms, you can’t work in a retail store stocking shelves, running a cash register, or bagging groceries. Your communication impairments can prevent you from working in telemarketing, serving as office staff at a medical clinic, working as a sales representative, or being a customer service representative.

Applying for Disability Benefits

If you have decided to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you have multiple options to get the process started. You can make a call using the SSA’s toll-free number to 1-800-772-1213 and start the process over the phone with a representative. You can go online to start the application as well. If you prefer meeting with a representative face-to-face to start your claim, you can go to your nearest SSA office. You can have an advocate or an attorney to represent you during the claims process. If you have representation, you are much more likely to have your claim approved.

The claims process focuses on documentation, so you must provide detailed medical records including tests, test results, treatments, side effects, symptoms, physician notes, and proof of any restrictions and limitations. You also need to be able to show Disability Determination Services how your condition has impacted your daily life and your ability to do things. Documentation is the key to a successful claim.