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Will a brain injury qualify a Michigander for SSDI benefits?

After a Michigan resident suffers a brain injury, there may seem to be nothing but bad news. An injured Michigander and his or her family may be grappling with long-term rehabilitation needs, mounting medical costs and a person who no longer resembles his or her former self.

Despite these challenges, there is some good news in the form of available Social Security disability benefits for injury. The Social Security Administration categorizes traumatic brain injuries as a neurological condition, and a person with such an injury may qualify for SSDI benefits.

The SSA evaluates cerebral trauma, such as a traumatic brain injury, under some of the same provisions that it evaluates epilepsy. Before awarding benefits, the SSA will consider a person's condition at three months following the occurrence of a brain injury, though some injuries may be severe enough for the SSA to award benefits earlier. The SSA will look for a victim who is suffering from motor or sensory aphasia that leads to a person being unable to effectively speak or communicate. Alternately, a person with a brain injury may qualify for SSDI benefits if he or she suffers from disorganization of motor function in two extremities that is both significant and persistent and leads to a disturbance of his or her dexterous and gross movements, station or gait.

For some brain injury victims, the SSA may not be able to make a determination of disability at three months following an injury, and may have to wait until six months following an injury to make a disability determination.

A Michigan resident who has suffered a brain injury may find that legal counsel can provide helpful guidance during this difficult time. Additionally, it is important to remember that even an initial denied claim does not mean the end of the road for SSDI benefits. An attorney can help an applicant through the appeals process, as well.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Neurological - Adult," accessed June 10, 2016

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