Disability Benefits for Stroke Victims
A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or simply a “brain attack” occurs when the blood flow to a section of the brain is suddenly interrupted. When this happens to an individual, their brain cells become deprived of oxygen and will begin to die. This can result in permanent damage to the brain and sometimes even death. The lasting symptoms can vary depending on the area of the brain that was damaged. There are people who do manage to completely recover from strokes but this is rather rare. Most survivors are left with some kind of lasting condition.
Types of Strokes
There are two different types of strokes.
Ischemic Stroke – happens when blood clots or deposits block blood flow to the brain’s cells. The clots can form from fatty deposits and cholesterol. Roughly 80% of strokes are this type.
Hemorrhagic Stoke – happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or ruptures. This leads to bleeding within the brain tissue that causes damage to brain cells. Typical causes are high blood pressure and brain aneurysms. This type of stroke results in many more deaths than ischemic stokes.
Qualifying After a Stroke
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a disability guide known as the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security (also called the Blue Book) that describes the requirements for particular impairments to be eligible for disability benefits. Strokes can lead to permanent complications that may interfere with a person's ability to work and engage in typical daily activities. A stroke survivor would first be evaluated under listing 11.04 Central Nervous System Vascular Accident to determine if the individual qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits. The requirements for 11.04 are listed below.
11.04 Central Nervous System Vascular Accident
Applicant needs to satisfy one of the following more than 3 months post-vascular accident:
Requirement A: Sensory or motor aphasia resulting in ineffective speech or communication.
Requirement B: Significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements or gait and station.
Qualifying Under Other Listings
Stroke survivors commonly are left with permanent damage that affects other body systems. In these situations, the applicants would be evaluated under the listing of the affected part of the body. For example, many stroke survivors experience vision and hearing problems after the stroke. These individuals would be evaluated under one of the Blue Book’s listings under section 2.00 Special Senses and Speech.