What can you expect the Social Security Administration to do for people with TBI?
Before embarking on anything Social Security related, remember that your journey is a daunting maze of frustration for people with brain injury disabilities and their families.
Under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) programs, the word “disability” is not defined well. It is important to understand how the Social Security Administration defines “disability” because it is a very strict definition.
The Social Security Administration’s definition of disability is different from other Federal programs. For example the Worker’s Compensation program recognizes a person’s “partial” disability, while the SSDI and SSI do not.
The SSA’s decision about a person’s disability is based strictly on the person’s ability to work. There is a five point questionnaire to determine this. The SSA’s decision is a legal conclusion based on the SSA regulations and related court decisions. In reaching a decision about disability eligibility, the SSA does not recognize disability findings from other entities, such as other government agencies or insurance companies.
The SSDI and SSI programs are the largest of the Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. Generally, the medical requirements for disability eligibility are the same under SSDI and SSI programs, but the way these programs are funded differs. The SSDI program is funded by the Social Security taxes paid by employed individuals. Therefore, the SSDI program is based on a person’s work experience. The SSI program is funded by general tax revenues and pays benefits to people with disabilities who have limited income and assets, and is based on a person’s financial need.
As you can see finding out of you or a family member with TBI is eligible for social security benefits, is not simple. Your best solution is to hire a lawyer or an advocate savvy in the bureaucratic double talk to determine what the options are and how soon can you qualify.
If you or a family member has a traumatic brain injury, talk to Anapol Schwartz, a Pennsylvania personal injury law firm to find out what your legal options are.