Does Hemorrhagic Stroke Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Published on: August 19, 2020

Strokes are often caused by hemorrhage, or pooling of blood in the brain - the effects of which can cause devastating results. Stroke victims can be left with after-effects such as difficulties with speech, walking, vision, or even paralysis of an entire side of one's body. While some people only suffer from a stroke for a short period of time, others never recover from it. 

For many hemorrhagic stroke victims, performing the regular daily function of their job is impossible. Like many other conditions, there are many different requirements by which stroke victims must qualify in order to be approved for disability benefits. And, if you don't qualify, you might still be eligible via medical-vocational qualification.

Can A Stroke Patient Get Disability?

The short answer is yes. Stroke victims can apply for Social Security disability benefits, but there are certain requirements they must meet to be deemed eligible. Even if they do not qualify, stroke patients can still apply through medical-vocational allowance requirements.

Strokes are one of the leading causes of long-term disabilities in the United States with nearly 800,000 Americans suffering from strokes every year. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the country; for survivors age 65 years old and over, more than half experience a reduction in mobility. Hemorrhagic stroke risk factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

How Long Does it Take to Get Disability After a Stroke?

Timing matters when it comes to applying for Social Security disability for a stroke. It’s important to understand that you will not receive an immediate answer from the SSA if you apply for disability benefits right after you have a stroke. 

Most disability cases take months to decide, but the SSA takes even longer to deliberate on stroke claims. In fact, the SSA defers stroke cases to a period of three months immediately. The reason for this prolonged decision is because the final limitations of a stroke are impossible to measure in the short term. Hemorrhagic stroke recovery can look different for every patient since it depends on factors such as severity, age, and other medical conditions. So, the immediate period following a stroke is too soon to determine the long-term effects of the condition. 

Applying for Disability for a Stroke as a "Vascular Accident"

Social Security considers a stroke a "central nervous system vascular accident," which is actually classified under neurological impairments. Basically, in order to get disability benefits for a stroke, you must not be able to talk or write sufficiently, due to sensory aphasia (nonsensical speech and inability to understand), or expressive aphasia (trouble forming words). 

Hemorrhagic stroke victims can also qualify for disability benefits if you're unable to control the movement of two of your limbs, resulting in problems using your hands or walking.

Applying for Disability for a Stroke Resulting in Vision Loss

In rare cases, a hemorrhagic stroke causes serious vision problems in its victims - the most common being hemianopia. In hemianopia, the individual loses sight in half the visual field of one or both eyes. While normal vision returns in a matter of a few months for some of these victims, sight fails to return for others. If you meet Social Security's requirements for legal blindness with regard to hemianopia, you're definitely eligible to receive disability benefits.

Applying for Disability Based on Medical-Vocational Terms

While you may not qualify to receive disability for your hemorrhagic stroke on account of any of the above standards, you may still be able to collect funds by applying through a medical-vocational allowance. By developing a "residual functional capacity" or RFC, Social Security can determine how fit or unfit you are to perform your job or daily activities. They'll classify you on a scale of sedentary, light, medium, and heavy. They'll look at your medical records and doctor's notes (explaining what you reasonably can and cannot do - how long you can walk, whether or not you can dress yourself, etc.), and make a determination that way.

For instance, if your job requires you to pick up boxes all day long, and your medical records and doctor's notes indicate that you'll simply be unable to do that, Social Security may recommend work that you are fit to do. However, if you are classified as an unskilled worker and your condition doesn’t allow you to do much physical or mental work, then you'll be a good candidate for benefits.

Age can be a vital factor in determining medical-vocational eligibility. The older you are, the easier it is to be eligible for a medical-vocational allowance. For instance, a stroke victim applying with no transferable skills at age 50 may not be approved for an allowance but could be approved at age 58 with the same work history

When to Hire An Experienced Advocate

If you've been denied benefits for your hemorrhagic stroke, or if you would like to have help with your disability benefits application in order to ensure that you'll receive them the first time around, don't hesitate to contact an experienced DEF advocate today. They’ll provide you with all the legal assistance you'll need in order to get the compensation you deserve. Contact a benefits advocate, today!

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