Pointers for applying for Social Security Disability benefits

BIRRDsong Peer Support Coordinator Brian Liebenstein has some great pointers to share. If you are thinking about applying for Social Security Disability Benefits, read on!!

With Labor Day right around the corner, we should discuss how having a brain injury compromises the ability to labor. There are bound to be difficulties when the ability to concentrate, focus, and safely complete a task become compromised. Sadly, for many in the brain-injured community, such problems are not readily recognized. They are often dismissed as laziness or unwillingness to work. Because of this, there are some items to consider as you apply for Social Security Disability.

1. Write down all deadlines you are given and provide the information required as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to add any information regarding the difficulties caused by a brain injury. This is important even if it doesn’t seem pertinent to your ability to work.

2. You will need verifiable sources for problems. This is an area where friends and family might be of great help. They can assist with lists of job needs, school requirements, or similar records. This information will show how your brain injury affects your capabilities. Having reports of difficulties in your work will prove beneficial in establishing the presence of a disability.

3. Do not be afraid to use the varied law firms which can provide representation in disability cases. Again, as you go to seek legal counsel, it is helpful to have documentation. This could be a report from a neuropsychologist or other tests of brain function. It could be that you were reported as constantly late or inattentive to certain tasks at work. However, the truth is that your injury affected the brain functions required to fulfill the task involved. Conveying such information correctly is better left in the hands of professionals.

4. Sometimes enough ability remains to reestablish a work situation. Checking with state employment personnel can determine if it is possible to do some work. You can often do this while still being entitled to disability payments. Do not let pride or stubbornness blind you to the difficulties resulting from a brain injury. You may need to accept disability payments for a while. You can find alternative ways to work where you can use your remaining talents.
If you keep asking for others’ input you can expect good results, but reaching your goal will take time. However, your labor to establish your inability to labor was worth the time and effort.

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Joan Miller, founding Board Secretary of BIRRDsong is a passionate victim advocate for Oregon Impact and brain injured people, and a frequent speaker in schools and on victim impact panels.  www.oregonimpact.org.

You can visit Joan’s blog at  http://joanwins.com/blog/