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Can Traumatic Brain Injury qualify one for SSD benefits?

There has been a lot of focus over the last few years in the United States on the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), in part due to the popularity of the National Football League and its well-documented struggles with the issue. Fortunately, most of us do not work jobs where the risk of TBI is so high, but such injuries can happen anywhere at any time. TBI is, for example, often the result of motor vehicle accidents. The question is: what if such an injury affects a person's ability to work? Is a TBI sufferer in New Jersey eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for the injury?

TBI is covered in Section 11.00 paragraph (f) of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) so-called "blue book." This listing helps explicate what symptoms and particular conditions will cause the SSA to grant SSDI benefits. According to this document, the SSA recognizes that the truly disabling properties of a TBI may not manifest themselves until sometime after the injury is suffered. It states that such injuries can result in a wide variety of potentially disabling symptoms, and that such conditions may improve immediately after the injury, but reappear and become worse later. Impairments categorized as "neurological" stabilize more rapidly than those thought of as "mental," according to the SSA.

However, the administration will normally defer a determination on a TBI-related neurological condition if its manifestation does not support a disability finding within three months of the injury. In these instances, the case will be re-adjudicated at the six-month mark.

Of course, it is not the brain trauma itself, but the conditions such injury cause, that may qualify a person for benefits. Due to this, the SSA "blue book" states that such injuries will be evaluated under the sections pertaining to the various neurological or mental conditions that are manifest. As this manual points out, it may not be easy to evidence the disability caused by a TBI, but if one has specific questions, one may wish to consider consulting an experienced New Jersey Social Security disability attorney.

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