Spinal Cord Injuries, Disability Benefits, and You
There are 17,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries each year. Each case is unique and affects the person’s life in a different way--for example, some people may have more limited mobility than others do based on how their injury occurred.
These injuries are most often a result of a car accident, but they can also occur due to falls and acts of violence. No matter how they happen, spinal cord injuries can alter a person’s life forever.
Every September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. Although people with spinal cord injuries are all too aware of the effects of this type of injury, the population at large may not be. Others may not realize how difficult it is to live with a spinal cord injury, much less make a living.
In honor of spinal cord injury awareness month, here is a resource to help make those with spinal cord injuries more aware of what options are available for financial survival.
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month was established in September 2014 thanks to the passing of U.S. Senate Resolution 533. Since then, numerous organizations have helped to spread awareness of the injury and promote research to help people regain their mobility.
Affiliated organizations include the United Spinal Association, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
These organizations all provide useful resources to increase awareness and understanding of spinal cord injuries, while also connecting those with spinal cord injuries to resources such as support groups. However, these organizations are often unable to help with a person’s day-to-day survival--particularly financial survival. This is where Social Security disability benefits can be incredibly helpful.
How to Qualify for a Spinal Cord Injury with the Blue Book
To assess Social Security disability claims, the Social Security Administration uses a guide known as the Blue Book. The Blue Book contains a list of different conditions that can help you qualify for benefits. Spinal cord injuries have their own entry in the Blue Book; they’re listed in Section 1.04 (under “disorders of the spine”).
In other words, the SSA is definitely prepared to give benefits to spinal cord injury patients. Having a condition listed right in the Blue Book can make filing a successful claim quite a bit easier.
Determining what condition you’re eligible for is the most straightforward part. After that, you have to prove that your injury keeps you from being able to find a job. In order to do this, you’ll have to collect as much medical documentation about your spinal cord injury as possible.
Some helpful documents can include doctor’s notes, x-rays, MRI scans, and prescription lists, among others. Then, of course, you have to file the appropriate paperwork to the SSA and await a decision.
If you do this alone, even if you have a serious spinal cord injury, you may get denied on the first try if you don’t have an attorney representing you. However, if you do have an attorney, that can boost your chances of a successful claim.
How a Social Security Attorney or Advocate Could Help You Qualify
People may wonder why they need a Social Security disability attorney for something as straightforward as a spinal cord injury. It’s important to consider that having a spinal cord injury is already difficult enough-- there’s simply no reason to make things harder by attempting to go through the complex filing process by yourself.
An attorney can handle all of the paperwork, documentation and headaches on your behalf. That attorney will be in a better position to pay attention to the details that could make or break a claim.
People with spinal cord injuries are already aware of the difficulties that come with the condition. But they may not be aware of the resources that can make their lives easier.
During this Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, everyone should be aware of the struggles that come with having a spinal cord injury, and those with the condition should be made aware of the relief that can come from getting disability benefits.