Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are becoming a more common diagnosis for claimants needing Social Security disability benefits, with advances in testing and imaging and more publicity from injured veterans and athletes. They are not always easy to prove. There is a new regulation that specifically evaluates these profound injuries. Earlier they were considered under neurological or mental illness criteria.
Many of the symptoms of TBI are subtle. Also, because most of the patients are not good historians due to their brain injuries and often lack self-insight, proof of total disability is challenging. The involvement of family members, friends and coaches is helpful for reporting symptoms to the treating physicians.
Until October 2016, Social Security evaluated traumatic brain injury under disability listings for other types of medical conditions. The new regulation covers brain damage caused by skull fracture, a closed head injury, or penetration by an object into the brain tissue. Please call us if you or a loved one is considering applying or appealing. The regulation is here at Section 11.18.