Brain Aneurysms and Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits
Can I get disability benefits for a brain aneurysm?
Author Attorney Lloyd Bemis:
A brain aneurysm is an abnormal weak spot on a blood vessel that causes an outward bulging of the arterial wall. It can affect any blood vessel in the body, but an aneurysm in the brain can rupture, releasing blood into the skull and causing a stroke. Brain aneurysms affect more than 30,000 Americans annually.
Most brain aneurysms occur in the blood vessels at the base of the brain, known as the Circle of Willis, a collection of arteries which supply the brain with nutrition like oxygen and glucose.
The junctions where these arteries come together may develop weak spots and rupture, creating what is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is rare, but may result in brain damage or death. Ten to 15% die from a subarachnoid hemorrhage before reaching the hospital while 50% die within the first 30 days after the rupture has occurred.
Most brain aneurysms remain small and are never diagnosed because they have no symptoms.
Those that are discovered are usually found as a result of diagnosing and treating other conditions. Symptoms may include:
- Difficulty thinking or processing problems
- Speech complications
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Short-term memory problems and decreased concentration.
If your doctor suspects that you have a brain aneurysm, he may perform one or more of the following tests:
Computed tomography scan (CT scan). CT scans are special x-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using x-rays and a computer. This test helps identify bleeding in the brain.
Computed tomography angiogram (CTA scan). This test is more precise than a CT scan and uses a combination of CT scan, special computer techniques, and dye injected into the blood to produce images of blood vessels.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, radio waves and field gradients to produce images of blood vessels and other organs.
Cerebral angiogram. This is an invasive test, but gives the highest detailed pictures of the location, size, and shape of an aneurysm. A flexible tube is inserted into an artery and guided to the vessels of the brain. Dye is then injected into the vessel, and pictures are taken with a fluoroscope.
Contact a Social Security disability attorney at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and see if you can get disability benefits while suffering from a brain aneurysm. If you have been denied disability don’t give up!
Unfortunately, most brain aneurysms only become obvious when they rupture.
If you or someone you know experiences any of the following, seek medical attention immediately:
- Sudden, severe headache
- Sensitivity to light
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fainting, loss of consciousness
- Loss of sensation
The main goals of treatment after a brain aneurysm has ruptured are to stop bleeding, prevent brain damage, and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Treatment of unruptured brain aneurysms depend on the patient’s age, the size of the aneurysm, and the overall health of the patient. Risk of a small aneurysm rupturing is low, so a doctor may suggest not smoking or controlling high blood pressure instead of surgery, which poses a high risk. If the aneurysm is large or causing pain, surgery may be recommended.
Other treatments available are:
Endovascular embolization. A small tube is inserted into the affected artery near the aneurysm. Soft metal coils are guided through the tube, filling the aneurysm and making it less likely to rupture. Mesh can also be used to fill the aneurysm (mesh embolization).
Surgical clipping. A small metal clip is placed around the base of the aneurysm, isolating it from normal blood circulation. This decreases pressure on the aneurysm and prevents rupture.
While high blood pressure and atherosclerosis are common causes of brain aneurysms, other rare conditions such as trauma and tumors may also cause aneurysms to form.
Mycotic aneurysms are the result of infections of the artery, and drug abuse, particularly cocaine, may weaken and inflame arteries.
The Social Security Administration recognizes brain aneurysms as an impairment under Section 11.00, Neurological and Section 11.04:
I. What is vascular insult to the brain, and how do we evaluate it under 11.04?
- Vascular insult to the brain (cerebrum, cerebellum, or brainstem), commonly referred to as stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is brain cell death caused by an interruption of blood flow within or leading to the brain, or by a hemorrhage from a ruptured blood vessel or aneurysm in the brain. If you have a vision impairment resulting from your vascular insult, we may evaluate that impairment under the special senses body system, 2.00.
- We need evidence of sensory or motor aphasia that results in ineffective speech or communication under 11.04A (see 11.00E). We may evaluate your communication impairment under listing 11.04C if you have marked limitation in physical functioning and marked limitation in one of the four areas of mental functioning.
- We generally need evidence from at least 3 months after the vascular insult to evaluate whether you have disorganization of motor functioning under 11.04B, or the impact that your disorder has on your physical and mental functioning under 11.04C. In some cases, evidence of your vascular insult is sufficient to allow your claim within 3 months post-vascular insult. If we are unable to allow your claim within 3 months after your vascular insult, we will defer adjudication of the claim until we obtain evidence of your neurological disorder at least 3 months post-vascular insult.
11.04 Vascular insult to the brain, characterized by A, B, or C:
A. Sensory or motor aphasia resulting in ineffective speech or communication (see 11.00E1) persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the insult.
B. Disorganization of motor function in two extremities (see 11.00D1), resulting in an extreme limitation (see 11.00D2) in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities, persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the insult.
C. Marked limitation (see 11.00G2) in physical functioning (see 11.00G3a) and in one of the following areas of mental functioning, both persisting for at least 3 consecutive months after the insult:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information (see 11.00G3b(i)); or
- Interacting with others (see 11.00G3b(ii)); or
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace (see 11.00G3b(iii)); or
- Adapting or managing oneself (see 11.00G3b(iv)).
Brain injury Long-term disability claim:
The denial letter for a Taylor client listed a variety of cardiac issues and concluded that the client was not precluded from performing sedentary labor due to those issues. Her claim for disability was not based on a cardiac condition, however. After her cardiac surgery, she suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage which led to massive bleeding in her brain. According to her neurosurgeon, the client suffered from a class 4-severe physical impairment as well as a class 4-severe mental impairment. She suffered from an inability to use and understand spoken language and short term memory loss. This was due to brain damage which had been objectively documented by MRI and CT scans. Although she attempted to return to work, she was terminated because her cognitive deficits rendered her unable to perform her job. As a result of her brain injury, she was determined to be totally disabled by the Social Security Administration. Her Long Term Disability insurer, Lincoln Financial, denied her claim, however. Bemis, Roach & Reed handled her appeal and was successful in getting her benefits restored.
If you have experienced a brain aneurysm,
you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Income.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a Free Consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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