Recently on our disability forum a user asked, I recently had a car accident. I have had some brain damage. I tried to go back to work as an accountant, but I found I am unable to perform my current job. When I applied for SSDI benefits, however, the Social Security Administration (SSD) claimed I could still work. What are my options?
What is aphasia?
Aphasia, which is a communication disorder that occurs when certain parts of the brain are damaged, may be the result of brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, or any number of other neurological disorders.
Aphasia can be especially frustrating. While the person suffering from this disorder retains all of their intellectual capabilities, they may be unable to communicate effectively. In fact, aphasia can impact their ability to speak, read, write, and hear. Suffers may also have additional issues such as swalling, dysarthria, and apraxia.
Can I work my old job with aphasia?
Unfortunately, you mentioned you cannot work your old job since you had your car accident. If you had a skilled position which required extensive communication with other employees this is not surprising.
In fact, if you have severe aphasia you might find it impossible to construct complex sentences, put sentences together, understand what others are saying, or have difficulty reading- all tasks which are critical for accounting.
Why cant I get SSDI benefits with aphasia?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is offered to claimants who have a severe health condition which is expected to last at least 12 continuous months and does not allow them to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).
When you apply for SSDI benefits the SSA will determine whether your condition is severe, does not allow you to work any type of job including your previous job- and whether you have sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI.
While you have some evidence that you cannot work your previous job with your condition, the SSA will expect that you try to find new work.
If after attempting to work other jobs you find that you absolutely cannot work, you may be able to win SSDI benefits, but it will depend on the severity of your condition. First, however, you will need to see if you can retrain for new work.
So what are your options to retrain for new work?
So what are the first steps to finding a new job? First, its important to make sure you get the best treatment possible. Work with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to improve your specific language skills which have been affected by the damage to your brain.
After you have received adequate help, you can also talk to a vocational specialist and find out what type of work you can perform. Many employers are willing to work with employees with limitations and develop work strategies to help them compensate for their weaknesses.
Over time and with adequate training and compensation you may find you are able to return to some type of job.
Although you may not be able to perform complicated accounting tasks with severe aphasia, the SSDI will expect that you attempt to retrain for a less challenging job. SSDI benefits are only give to those workers who can not retrain for any type of work.
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