The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that it will review its guidelines and qualifying criteria for all SSDI and SSI disability claims involving brain conditions and neurological disorders. According to the Beaumont Enterprise, the announcement came as part of its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in its Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2013.
Neurological disorders poise a special problem for both medical professionals and the SSA – brain injuries, brain disorders, and head trauma can be difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to evaluate. While it is easy to diagnose a broken arm or a tumor, it is far more difficult to understand the long-term implications of a traumatic brain injury or neurological issue. Perhaps as a result of this issue, only about nine percent of Social Security disability claims each year is related to neurological problems.
Currently, the SSA lists 17 different head and brain ailments in their Disability Evaluation Under Social Security medical guide. For those with neurological diseases and disorders to qualify for disability benefits, they must have a debilitating condition that will last at least a year (or end in death) and not be able to continue working due to that condition. The neurological disorder must be proved through official medical records.
Many hope that the new qualifying criteria for Social Security disability benefits related to neurological problems will make it easier and more accurate for those with brain health issues to prove their disability and collect the benefits that they need and deserve.