Although strokes most often occur in adults over the age of retirement, a portion of those who experience strokes are under the age of 65.
If you are under retirement age, a stroke can impact all facets of your life, including your ability to work to financially support yourself and your family. The medical bills you face due to your health combined with being out of work can be an extreme stressor you do not need as you work to recuperate.
When to Apply for Stroke Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers strokes to be disabling, but only under certain circumstances. Because of this it processes disability applications for stroke victims differently.
Although the immediate effects following a stroke can be debilitating and severely limiting, they may not continue indefinitely.
Because the long-term effects of a stroke are typically not immediately known, the SSA will not review your stroke disability claim immediately. It typically takes three months to determine how a stroke's effects will impact you. At the three-month mark, your application will move into initial review.
Qualifying for Stroke Disability Benefits
To qualify for disability benefits for a stroke, you must experience impairments that last or are expected to last at least one year or result in death.
You must also meet the requirements of a disability listing in the SSA's Blue Book of Impairments or your condition must be so debilitating that you cannot hold any type of work.
If you are applying for SSI, you must also meet specific income requirements.
The Blue Book classifies strokes under the listing for vascular insults to the brain, which requires that applicants meet one of the following criteria:
- Severe impairment in your speech or writing ability or a loss of these abilities entirely for at least three months after the stroke
- Significant control or coordination issues that affect your ability to stand from a seated position, balance on your own or use your upper extremities for at least three months
If you do not meet one of those requirements, you could still qualify if you have marked limitations in physical function and mental functioning in at least one of the following:
- Understanding, recalling and applying information
- Interacting socially
- Adapting to changes or managing yourself
It may also be possible to meet the listing for other disabilities that often result from a stroke, such as blindness, hearing loss or cognitive impairment from brain damage.
If You Do Not Meet the Disability Listing Requirements
If you do not meet the Blue Book listing criteria, you may still qualify for stroke disability benefits by qualifying for a medical vocational allowance.
This will require your physician to complete a residual functional capacity assessment to determine your condition, recovery, treatment, symptoms, limitations and other factors.
The SSA will use this, along with other factors such as age, education and job skills to determine if you can do any type of work. If it is determined you cannot, the SSA will grant you disability benefits through a medical vocational allowance.
For assistance filing for or appealing your stroke disability claim, contact the social security disability attorneys at Dayes Law Firm PC. We will support you through the claims process, working to secure the maximized benefits you deserve.