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Does your brain injury make you eligible for disability benefits?

If you have a brain injury in Michigan, you may be wondering if you are eligible for disability benefits. There are different severity levels of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), so it may depend on how severe your situation is and how it affects your ability to function on the job. 

According to Northeastern University, healthcare providers typically define the severity of a brain injury based on how long the patient is out of consciousness, the results of brain scans and how much amnesia there is after the trauma. However, whether or not the TBI affects how you are able to work may be important when it comes to determining eligibility for disability benefits. Some impairments that may result from even a mild TBI include:

  • Confusion
  • Problems with memory
  • Low concentration
  • Limited ability to process quickly
  • Anxiety 
  • Visual disturbances
  • Headache 
  • Nausea

With moderate and severe injuries, the previous symptoms are often worse. Other impairments that can affect work ability include:

  • Suppressed ability for executive function
  • Inability to perceive problems
  • Low motivation
  • Light intolerance
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Chronic pain
  • Paralysis
  • Vision loss
  • Decreased hearing ability
  • Difficulty sleeping

When any of these impairments are long-lasting, the Brain Injury Association of America discusses the different financial assistance programs available for patients. Two federal programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is for workers who have made contributions to Social Security, and the program includes cash and health insurance benefits. SSI is for those who are of low income, and also provides cash and health insurance assistance.

 

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