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Memory Problems and Social Security Disability Benefits

A Nevada woman has been denied disability benefits three times - once by her employer-provided disability insurer and twice by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Both insurers say that she can work. But she has no short-term memory because the hippocampus in her brain atrophied when her heart stopped because of complications during her second pregnancy.

When she woke up after 13 days in a coma, she didn't recognize her husband. Today she doesn't remember her children's births, can't go to the grocery store because she becomes disoriented, can't cook because she forgets to turn off the stove, and doesn't recognize her neurologist when she goes for an annual appointment.

The neurologist says she cannot work. But when she applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, the government said she could watch medical surveillance monitors or peel potatoes. Yet she cannot take care of a bank account or remember when to take her medications.

When she went for an exam with an SSD-approved doctor at a hotel conference room in Las Vegas, the doctor ended the exam early and the woman wandered onto the street. Her husband finally found her in a bus stop. She had forgotten that she was supposed to wait for him at the hotel.

With routines and calendars and alarms on her phone and IPad, her memory seemed to be improving. She was hoping she might be able to work once more, or at least drive again. However, her neurologist tells her that she really cannot work or drive. He is shocked that she has not been approved for SSD disability benefits.

She is going to appeal, but that takes a long time - at least a year in Nevada.

If you have memory problems or other impairments resulting from a brain injury and are seeking Social Security Disability benefits, don't give up - get help. Call the advocates at Binder & Binder®, America's most successful SSD advocates. Tell them your story and learn what they can do to help.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, "Woman to government: My inability to remember qualifies me as disabled," Aug. 25, 2013.

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