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Stroke and Social Security Disability Benefits

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Since 1989, the National Stroke Association has been using this month to focus on efforts to prevent strokes and increase understanding of this often-disabling medical event. The association conducts educational campaigns to inform the public, develop resources and provide information that could reduce the risk of stroke in both general and specific populations.

The Mayo Clinic defines stroke as an interruption or reduction of blood flow to the brain, causing the death of brain tissue in the affected area. It is either caused by blood clots or by leaking of blood vessels into the brain, or hemorrhage. Depending on where in the brain the stroke occurs, results of stroke can include weakness or paralysis, loss of the ability to speak, vision problems, incontinence, memory and learning problems, and depression or other emotional issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is also the leading cause of severe and long-term disability in the U.S. Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds or so.

Most strokes - around 75 percent - occur in people over age 65. However, 25 percent of stroke victims, most of whom are still working, experience this devastating health event every year. That means around 190,000 people suffer the consequences of strokes.

The good news is that the frequency of stroke is declining and has done so for the past 15 years. The bad news is that many thousands of people who work and contribute are sidelined by strokes each year and can no longer work. This means that in addition to trying to recover as fully as possible, many stroke victims face the added stress of not being able to work and losing income as a result.

People who can no longer work because of a stroke may be able to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), workers with the following stroke outcomes could be eligible:

  • Speech or writing problems
  • Problems with two extremities -either legs or hands -- that cause significant problems walking, balancing, grasping objects or employing hands to use objects
  • Vision problems that affect sight field or that result in blindness

Because the extent of disability and how well one can work following a stroke are different for each person, applying for and actually receiving SSD benefits can be challenging. - one size does not fit all. Moreover, the SSA may wait longer than usual to determine whether you are going to improve to the point where you can work again. Factors such as these can make the SSD claims process difficult for those seeking benefits because of a stroke.

That's when the people at Binder & Binder® can help. As America's most successful SSD advocates, we can ensure that your claim for benefits is fully documented and that your case is as strong as possible. If you or a loved one can no longer work because of a stroke, give Binder & Binder®a call. Hundreds of thousands of people across the United States have already done so.

Source: National Stroke Association, "May is National Stroke Awareness Month," n.d.

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