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How do I obtain disability benefits for a head injury?

In order to obtain government benefits for a head injury, Minnesota residents must successfully complete five steps. Those are: Establish that you are disabled; Choose between SSDI or SSI; Find your condition on the Social Security Administration's blue book listing; Gather your documents and submit.

The first step is obviously the most important. In order for you to qualify as disabled, the Social Security Administration must see that your head injury has rendered you unable to perform the duties of your job. It must also be established that you are unable to learn to do another kind of work as a result of your head injury. Finally, the disabling nature of your head injury must continue for the duration of at least one year, or it must be fatal. Without meeting these criteria, you cannot qualify for disability.

The next step involves selecting between SSDI and SSI benefits. In order to qualify for SSDI, a worker must have an employment history and tax contribution history that includes a sufficient number of years. Conversely, SSI is based on one's needs rather than employment and tax history. In order to qualify for SSI, one must have a limited income. In some cases, individuals can qualify to receive both SSI and SSDI benefits.

The third step is to find your condition on the SSA's blue book listing. If you are seeking benefits for a head or brain injury, blue book section 11.18, which covers cerebral trauma, will usually apply. Other sections for head injury related benefits claims include convulsive epilepsy (11.02), non-convulsive epilepsy (11.03), central nervous system vascular accident (11.04) and organic mental disorder (12.02). Each of these sections includes detailed requirements that must be met in order to qualify under the condition.

Once the above steps have been completed, it is time for the fourth step of gathering your documents and submitting the claim. This document gathering process may be somewhat time-consuming, and it may require visits to doctors in order to obtain the necessary diagnoses. Even then, though, approval for benefits is not guaranteed. If the claim is denied, then a fifth step will be required to appeal the denial and cure any deficiencies noted by the Social Security Administration.

Source: Head Injury Rehabilitation & Referral Services, "How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits with a Head Injury," accessed April. 16, 2015

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.

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