About 795,000 people a year suffer a stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability in American adults.
A stroke or cerebrovascular accident occurs when there is a block (ischemic stroke) or a break (hemorrhagic stroke) in one of the blood vessels that carries oxygenated blood to the brain. It is similar to a heart attack, so some people call strokes “brain attacks.” Like a heart attack, strokes can leave damage. The effects of a stroke depend on which part of the brain is damaged, but may include:
- Muscle weakness
- Full or partial paralysis
- Vision problems
- Language problems
- Memory loss
- Emotional disturbances
About half of all stroke survivors are able to recover enough to live independently after a stroke; 15 to 30 percent suffer permanent debilitating disabilities. A stroke survivor who is unable to work may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
There are several reasons to consider applying for SSDI after a stroke:
- If you have long term disability insurance, your insurer may require you to apply for SSDI before you are granted benefits.
- You will receive a regular monthly payment. The amount you receive is based on your past earnings.
- You will qualify for Medicare Part A (hospital benefits), Part B (medical benefits), and Part D (prescription drug plan) after 24 months of receiving SSDI.
- You will be able to extend your COBRA benefits for an additional 11 months.
- Receiving SSDI protects your retirement benefits. Your Social Security retirement income is based on your average income in the years before retirement. When you receive SSDI, your Social Security earnings records are frozen. Your retirement benefit will not decrease, even if you are not working.
- Your dependents under the age of 18 may also be eligible for benefits.
- SSDI offers work incentives, so you may still be able to receive benefits if your condition improves enough that you are able to work part time.
To qualify for SSDI you must have a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working for pay for at least 12 months. You must have medical documentation of your condition. You must have become disabled before the age of 65, and you must have worked and paid FICA payroll taxes during five of the past 10 years.
Applying for SSDI after a stroke can be frustrating. The government does not want to pay benefits to those who are able to work, so your disability must be thoroughly documented. To learn more about the SSDI application process, request a free copy of our brochure, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.
If applying on your own is overwhelming, the Nashua disability lawyers at Keefe Disability Law can help. Contact us at 888-904-6847 to schedule a free consultation with a New Hampshire Social Security benefits attorney.