Applying for Social Security Disability or SSI for Stroke

Disability Examiners see a fair number of Social Security Disability and SSI initial claim disability applications for which the primary allegation is stroke. And, unfortunately, after evaluating the residuals from a stroke three months post-cva (cerebrovascular accident) they turn a lot of these cases down as well.

Here's some interesting information regarding strokes:

1. "There are 750,000 strokes in America each year and 40 percent of those are due to carotid disease."

2. "35 percent of all people who have strokes are sent to nursing homes"

3. "Only 10 percent of stroke victims make full recovery"

4. "90 percent of all stroke victims have some residual deficit after their stroke"

My own recollection of having worked as a disability examiner is that too many disability examiner decisions---replace disability examiner with unit supervisor---are unfavorable (i.e. too many cases denied). And you have to wonder if examiners are even properly equipped to evaluate such cases. Neurological consults, which are often ordered on stroke cases, only provide snapshots (you don't see all the deficits three months post-cva and the severity of the deficits is subject to change over time).

And, then also, there's the wording of the stroke listing which reads "significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities...". The very language of the listing itself is fairly subjective.

Unfortunately, since the listing stipulates that stroke cases need to be evaluated three months after the occurrence of a stroke (for the severity of the residuals), it doesn't seem as if, in most instances, they'll benefit from Quick disability decision units, unless a QDD examiner is allowed to go the med-voc route (medical vocational disability decision) when evaluating the claim.

However, I would think that strokes cases simply will not go to QDD units. And, if that's the case, I suppose MI (heart attack) cases won't either.

The following page discusses how disability claims involving stroke are determined. Excerpt: "When an individual files for disability on the basis of a stroke, the disability examiner will not make a medical disability determination until at least three months have passed since the stroke occurred."

Link: How Social Security evaluates stroke.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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