Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the United States, impacting the lives of millions of people every year. For many stroke survivors, the road to recovery is long and arduous. Proper medical and rehabilitative care can help a person recover and get back to normal life, but this care comes at a cost. Fortunately, disability for a stroke can provide the financial support necessary to put a stroke survivor’s finances back on track.
At Schaffer & Associates, we are passionate about advocating for the rights of disabled individuals. If you had a stroke that left you unable to work, we can help guide you through the process of securing the disability benefits you need. As the law firm of choice among disabled individuals, we understand how to craft the strongest case on your behalf. To learn more about how we can help, consider contacting us at (419) 350-8277 today.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke?
A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, resulting in a lack of oxygen to tissue in the brain. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke, as early action is key to preventing brain damage and complications. While the signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person, the F.A.S.T. warning signs are used to identify and respond to the incident. F.A.S.T. stands for:
- Face. Drooping or numbness in one side of the face is a common indicator of stroke. Ask the person to smile. If they are unable to smile or if one side of their smile droops, they may be experiencing a stroke.
- Arms. There may also be drooping, numbness, or weakness in one arm.
- Speech. Individuals who are experiencing a stroke may have slurred, garbled, or confused speech.
- Time. Every moment counts during a stroke. Call 9-1-1 as soon as symptoms appear.
While the F.A.S.T. test is typically effective for identifying a stroke, individuals may exhibit a range of other symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of stroke include:
- Difficulty walking
- Paralysis of one side of the body
- Loss or blurring of vision
- Balance issues
- Loss of consciousness
How Does Having a Stroke Impact a Person’s Life?
A stroke can cause life-altering brain damage and long-term disability. After having a stroke, a medical professional will provide information about the severity of the stroke and the types of complications a person may experience in the aftermath of the incident. Every person’s life is impacted differently after having a stroke, with some individuals experiencing problems with memory or concentration, seizures, or even loss of vision, hearing, or touch. In some cases, stroke patients may struggle with loss of strength or dangerous blood clots that put them at risk for further complications down the line.
Having a stroke can make everyday activities difficult and impact a person’s ability to work. The physical and emotional changes that occur after a stroke can be debilitating, and adjusting to new routines can be understandably stressful for many individuals. Stroke patients and their families may require additional support to help recover following the incident. This support may be in the form of rehabilitative care, occupational and speech therapy, and/or financial assistance to cover lost wages and medical treatment.
Does Having a Stroke Qualify You for Disability?
The Social Security Administration does consider stroke to be a disabling condition. If you are unable to work, or expect to be unable to work, for 12 months or more following your stroke, you may be a good candidate for disability benefits. Obtaining disability for a stroke requires that you prove that the residual symptoms, limitations, and complications of your stroke prevent you from engaging in gainful activity. An experienced attorney can help you understand whether your residual effects meet the criteria for disability benefits.
Does Having a Mini Stroke Qualify for Disability?
A transient ischemic attack, known as a mini stroke, has signs and symptoms similar to that of a regular stroke. These symptoms tend to last for a few minutes to an hour and many people do not seek immediate medical attention for a mini stroke. While the signs and symptoms of a mini stroke do not always feel serious, they should never be ignored and may indicate a larger problem related to blood supply to the brain.
Unlike a stroke, transient ischemic attacks generally do not cause permanent damage. Since the majority of people who have a mini stroke are still able to work, qualifying for disability after a mini stroke is unlikely. There are exceptions to this, however. If you experience persistent mini strokes and operate heavy machinery, for example, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
In this case, the Social Security Administration will compare your physical and mental abilities with those of other individuals in your age group with similar educational and professional backgrounds to determine if you can adjust to another type of work. If your abilities or limitations prevent you from securing a different type of occupation, you may be able to receive disability benefits for a stroke.
What Is the Social Security Listing for Stroke?
The Social Security listing for stroke is Listing 11.04, Vascular Insult to the Brain. You may qualify for disability benefits under this listing if you meet any one of the following three criteria:
- Sensory or motor aphasia that causes persistent limitations in speech or communication.
- Issues with motor function in two extremities (such as two legs, two arms, or a leg and arm) that prohibits a person from standing, sitting, or balancing.
- Limitations in physical functioning in addition to issues with processing information, interacting with others, concentrating, or managing oneself.
To qualify for disability benefits, these complications must have persisted for three months or more prior to filing a claim, as the Social Security Administration wants to be sure that your impairment is long-term. Moreover, the residual effects of the stroke must be projected to last at least 12 months.
Even if your condition does not exactly fit the criteria outlined in the Social Security listing for stroke, you may still be found to be disabled if your symptoms prevent you from working. Similarly, if you suffer from vision loss or other physical impairments due to your stroke, you may qualify for benefits under other listings.
How Can You Apply for Disability Benefits Following a Stroke?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that stroke-related costs total over $50 billion in the United States. Between medical expenses, rehabilitative care, and missed days of work, the cost of having a stroke is significant. As such, it is important to apply for disability benefits following a stroke to help offset these costs. When applying for disability benefits, you will be required to prove that your symptoms and complications have prevented you from working and will continue to prevent you from working for 12 months or more.
If you are considering applying for disability benefits, ensure that you maintain detailed medical records that describe your symptoms and limitations. These records should include information about diagnostic testing as well as any medications you have taken and rehabilitative care you have received as a result of your stroke. Seeing your doctor regularly and keeping of your appointments will be key to proving your claim for benefits. Some evidence that may be required by the Social Security Administration to prove your disability may include:
- Initial testing that was performed in the ER or medical facility to diagnose your stroke
- Records of hospital stays
- Documentation related to surgical procedures that were done to treat the stroke
- Prognosis notes and physical examinations
- Speech, occupational, or physical therapy that was sought to treat the complications of the stroke
- Prescription medications that were taken and any side effects that resulted from these medications
Considering that many claims for disability for a stroke are delayed or denied due to insufficient evidence, it is important to submit as much documentation as possible to ensure that you receive the benefits you need and deserve. Your attorney can help you organize the necessary medical evidence to support your claim and ensure that you receive benefits as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Hiring an Attorney to Help You Apply for Social Security Benefits for Your Stroke
Navigating the process of filing a disability claim can be stressful and time-consuming. These benefits can provide you and your family with the consistent support and stability necessary to regain control of your life and your finances following a stroke. Seeking assistance from an experienced attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case, ensuring that you are able to receive the benefits you need for you and your family. At Schaffer & Associates, we apply our in-depth knowledge and expertise to help disabled workers secure disability benefits as swiftly as possible. For more information about how you can receive disability benefits for a stroke, consider connecting with our team at (419) 350-8277 today.