Medical Evidence Needed to Qualify after a Traumatic Brain Injury

If you have experienced a traumatic brain injury and because of the symptoms of that injury can’t work any longer, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. If you’re planning on filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits, you should be prepared to submit as much medical evidence as you can to show that your brain injury and the associated symptoms make it impossible for you work. You will also have to provide medical evidence to prove that you meet the Social Security Administration’s very strict criteria.

Every injury or illness that makes someone eligible for disability benefits is listed in one place – The SSA’s Blue Book. And each listing in the Blue Book has a set of requirements that someone has to prove they meet in order to be able to get disability benefits. In order to get approved for benefits you will have to prove that you meet all of those requirements.

Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits With a TBI

The medical requirements necessary to qualify for a TBI are very specific. They state that you must be able to prove that you:

Have an inability to control the movement of at least two extremities (either an arm and a leg or two arms or two legs), for at least three consecutive months after the injury. This must result in extreme difficulty in the ability to balance while standing or walking, to stand up from a seated position, or to use the arms. (These criteria used to be referred to as “a sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements or gait and station.”)


That you have “Marked” physical problems along with a "marked" limitation (for at least three months post-injury) in any one of these areas:

  • thinking (problems understanding, remembering, or applying information)
  • interacting with others (social problems)
  • finishing tasks (problems with concentration, persistence, or speed), or
  • regulating emotions and controlling behavior (such as problems with responding to demands, adapting to changes, and being aware of normal hazards).

If you can’t document that you meet these conditions your claim for Social Security disability benefits.

Medical Evidence Needed to Qualify after a Traumatic Brain Injury

Medical Documentation Needed

There are several different types of medical documentation that you can submit to prove that you meet the Blue Book criteria for TBI. First you can submit a doctor’s diagnosis. Next you can submit X-rays, MRI scans, and PET scans of your extremities and your brain to show the extent of your limitations. In order to prove that you have limitations you can submit things like:

  • Notes from your psychologist
  • Psychological test results
  • IQ test
  • Statements from caseworkers or social workers
  • Statements from your boss or old co-workers

Remember that it’s important to include as much detail as you can in the records that you choose to submit. If you received a TBI as part of military service, you can include your military health records that will have a detailed description of your injuries and their impact.


Filing a Claim

To file a claim for disability benefits you will have to submit copies of all of your evidence with your claim forms. Complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get in touch with a lawyer that may be able to assist you in filing your claim

Additional Resources

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!