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SSDI Evaluation

Stroke and Social Security Disability Insurance

AllsupHere is an explanation of Social Security's five-step process to determine if a stroke patient qualifies for SSDI:

1.  Determine if an individual is "working (engaging in substantial gainful activity)" according to the SSA definition. Earning more than $1,040 a month as an employee is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits.

2.  Conclude the stroke disability must be severe enough to significantly limit one's ability to perform basic work activities needed to do most jobs. For example:
  • Walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling
  • Seeing, hearing and speaking
  • Understanding/carrying out and remembering simple instructions
  • Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations
  • Dealing with changes in a routine work setting
3.  Stroke is listed under the category of impairments known as neurological. There are several ways to satisfy the listing criteria for a stroke:
  • Significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements or gait and station
  • Sensory or motor aphasia resulting in ineffective speech or communication
  • Organic Mental Disorder with marked restrictions
  • Significant, reproducible fatigue of motor function with substantial motor weakness on repetitive activity, demonstrated on physical examination, resulting from neurological dysfunction in areas of the central nervous system
4.  Explore the ability of an individual to perform work they have done in the past despite their stroke. If the SSA finds that a person can do his past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step.

5.  Review age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. To determine stroke disability, the SSA enlists medical-vocational rules, which vary according to age.

For example, if a person is:

Under age 50 and, as a result of the symptoms of stroke, unable to perform what the SSA calls sedentary work, then the SSA will reach a determination of disabled. Sedentary work requires the ability to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at a time, sit six hours and occasionally walk and stand two hours per eight-hour day.

Age 50 or older and, due to the stroke, limited to performing sedentary work, but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.

Age 55 or older and, due to the disability, limited to performing light work, but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.

Over age 60 and, due to the stroke, unable to perform any of the jobs he performed in the last 15 years, the SSA will likely reach a determination of disabled.

Any age and, because of stroke, has a psychological impairment that prevents even simple, unskilled work, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.

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