Stories about Social Security Disability after Brain Injury
The following are stories of real life survivors of brain injury. Clicking on the titles will take you to their actual story.
One of the greatest injustices that befall brain injury survivors is the disturbance in an already fragile mood because of wrongly motivated attempts to deny them benefits to which they are entitled. Insurance defense doctors love to claim that mood problems are all associated with “litigation neurosis”, that the survivor has created a fixation on his or her injuries that is magnifying the problem. The treatment plan for this neurosis? Boldly tell the injured person they are not injured and cognitive function will be restored. “Probably not but as far as irritability, now, I’m a little irritated about, the monthly struggle that, things like Social Security take a long time to get and all that but, uh, you know I’m okay now. ” It is true that survivors of TBI are negatively impacted by the combative and invasive tactics of those trying to deny them just compensation. Yet, he who causes the harm, should not be allowed to use it as an excuse. Those with unclean hands should not be allowed to benefit by their ill deeds.
Then did you apply for Social Security Disability at that time?: “I’ve had Social Security Disability every since my car accident.” So the job that you had and efforts to return to work where it didn’t necessarily disqualify you from your benefits.: “It came close. Luckily my mom used to work for the government and she was able to converse with them in government speak, I guess is, to where I could I keep it.”
There’s a list of criteria that the Social Security Administration publishes in terms of the mental abilities it takes to be able to survive in a job – the mental limitations that you might have that would make it so that you wouldn’t survive in a job. I want to talk about a couple of things in there. Now, for example, is the ability to remember work like procedures.
Thus, the severely brain injured person, was left on his own to figure out how to get eligibility. Steven, whose eligibility should have been routine because of the severity of his multiple injuries, wasn’t found disabled. Then – the system designed to protect Steven, wouldn’t to his TBI cry for help, because Social Security found his voice was “too clear.”
Are you on Social Security Disability now?; ‘It took five and a half years. Yes, sir. That’s why she initially walked out. It literally was right after my second denial, and I guess when she realized there wasn’t any money coming, it was time to go.’ What was the justification for turning you down?; ‘I was too smart to be disabled. That’s what they told me.” At some point, you had a neuropsychological evaluation?: “Just this summer I found one myself.” So how did the Social Security Administration figure out that you were “too smart” to be disabled?: “They would send me to these doctors that would spend five minutes talking to me and send me on my way.” Did you hire a lawyer at any point in your Social Security procedure?: “I’ve had, it took three to four lawyers, and it took, Mr. Wright to get me my last lawyer before I finally was to get approved.” Did you have a hearing before you were, in which you were turned down?: “Uh, yes, sir. I had a hearing both times that I was denied, and I got a hearing the last time that I finally got approved.” It is simply unconscionable that anyone who has survived a severe brain injury, even without related physical disability, should be denied social security on his or her own. With competent representation, the social security administration’s criteria for social security disability are easily provable for anyone who has survived a coma. Those criterion, spelled out on the SSA.gov website.
So even though your local or state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation was paying for you to be retrained because of your disabilities, Social Security was denying that you had any?: “Right. I was so discouraged when it says, when the first part of the letter says we are denying your disability claim and like I said I was told I don’t remember which one it was, the first or second time that I was too smart to be considered disabled. I know during one of the hearings they were saying oh well you can find a job sitting somewhere watching a monitor.”
As discussed previously in Part Eight, only incompetency or neglect could have resulted in someone so clearly eligible, being denied Social Security Disability Income, (SSDI). Bill’s intervention for Steven also made the difference here too. From my interview of Bill: Another thing, when I was trying to find somebody to help him, I was dealing with the local voc rehab person, or Steven actually. I was introduced to (the counselor) through Steven. The thing was the times before that he had been trying to receive his SSI or the benefits, I don’t think they were attorneys. They were people that used to work with Social Security or SSI, they retired and they said oh yeah we can help you do it because we know, we know the ropes. And it didn’t, my understanding it didn’t happen. Did she get the disability back to his date of injury or just to the date of a new application?: “I’m going to say that it was back through the date of the injury because he got a lump sum settlement.”