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Applying for Disability Benefits When Recovering From a Stroke

The long-term effects of a stroke may be severe enough to prevent you from continuing to work. If this is the case, Social Security disability can help you maintain some financial independence as you focus on returning to health.

In order to qualify for disability if you’ve had a stroke, it is necessary to gather medical evidence that demonstrates the severity of your condition. Even then, it is not uncommon for a first-time applicant to be rejected. If you’re considering applying to Social Security following a stroke, a disability lawyer can help you present a compelling case that will increase your chances of success.

About Strokes and Vascular Accidents

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, strokes are one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Each year, more than 795,000 Americans will have a stroke, and almost 130,000 will die from one.

A stroke — also known as a vascular accident — occurs when hemorrhaging or ischemia (lack of blood flow) prevents the brain from functioning normally. Stroke can lead to partial paralysis on one side of the body, speech problems and visual impairment. The effects of a stroke may be permanent, though often they can be mitigated through physical or occupational therapy.

Do I Qualify for Disability If I’ve Had a Stroke?

Clearly in severe cases a stroke can prevent someone from returning to work, either indefinitely or during their recovery. Vascular accident is listed as one of the conditions eligible for disability benefits in the Social Security Blue Book. In order to qualify, it must be proven that you have experienced either of the following more than three months after the initial incident:

  • Persistent aphasia (language disorder) that limits your ability to communicate effectively
  • Motor control problems or paralysis in two of your extremities (arms and/or legs) that have seriously affected your balance or movement

It is also possible for you to apply for stroke disability benefits under the listings for vision loss or transient ischemic attack.

If you don’t qualify under any of these listings, you can also apply for a medical-vocational allowance. To do this, a claims officer will complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment, which considers the physical and mental limitations suffered as a result of the stroke, as well as your employment history, age, and education, to determine whether or not you can find meaningful work that won’t compromise your health.

How Do I Apply to Social Security for Stroke Disability?

There are two Social Security programs that offer disability for stroke victims. If you’ve worked previously and paid a certain amount into Social Security in the past, you can apply to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. If you don’t meet the requirements for SSDI, you can apply to the needs-based Supplemental Secured Income (SSI) program. Both SSI and SSDI require you to submit medical evidence of your condition.

If you’re considering applying to SSI or SSDI for stroke disability, the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco may be able to help. More than 65% of claims are rejected initially, often due to a lack of medical evidence. Our team can help you gather documentation that may increase your odds of success. We can also appeal a previous rejection of benefits. To find out more, contact our office in Delaware County, PA to schedule your free consultation.

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