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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals

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Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits

Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Closed Head Injury and Filing for Disability

1) Head injuries are usually caused by a forceful physical blow to the head, and are categorized as either open or closed. A closed head injury is called ‘closed’ because it is a brain injury that is blunt and does not actually penetrate the skull, outermost layer of the brain, or the brain itself.

2) A closed head injury is sometimes referred to as a ‘nonpenetrating head trauma’ or a ‘blunt head trauma’.

3) Most CHIs are caused by falls, assaults, sports injuries, child abuse (shaking or hitting), or accidents that cause severe head trauma such as bicycle, motorcycle, or car accidents.

4) A mild CHI may cause dizziness, short term memory loss, slurred speech, nausea, temporary loss of consciousness, vomiting, and headache.

5) Even though a CHI does not penetrate the skull, it can cause nerve damage, seizures, personality changes, communication and cognitive difficulties, and still lead to severe complications such as intracranial pressure, brain swelling, brain damage, coma, and even death.

6) It is estimated that 200 people out of every 100,000 in the United States will suffer from a CHI at some point in their lives.

7) The most common form of closed head injury is a concussion, in which the brain is shaken and there is a temporary loss of brain function. Symptoms can be as mild as slight confusion for a moment, to amnesia.

8) There are many different types of CHI. A cerebral contusion causes a bruise on the brain tissue. A concussion involves a loss of brain function. A diffuse axonal injury is characterized by extensive lesions in white matter tracts. Intracranial hemorrhage involves a ruptured blood vessels and bleeding within the skull.

9) Treatment for CHI depends greatly upon the type and severity of the injury. It may range from over-the-counter pain medication to surgery. Those who have surgery usually follow-up with rehabilitation therapy to recover cognitive and motor skills.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria