A Vietnam veteran is dedicating his cross-country ride from New Hampshire to California to suffers of traumatic brain injuries, specifically those who are veterans.
As a U.S. Army veteran himself, Los Angeles Social Security Disability Lawyer Vincent Howard of HOWARD LAW supports this trip, especially as it raises awareness and funding for those have suffered devastating injuries while honorably serving our country.
Many times, securing disability benefits from Veterans' Affairs can be a tedious and time-consuming process. What many veterans may not realize is that in applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, they can have their claims fast-tracked if the injury occurred while they were on active duty status and if the injury occurred after Oct. 1, 2000.
Obtaining one benefit will have no impact on the other, so it's often worthwhile for military members who have suffered such severe trauma to seek both.
Although we have been hearing more and more lately about traumatic brain injuries precisely because of military members who have been returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, the condition is not confined to veterans.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year, there are at least 1.7 million new cases of traumatic brain injuries, which may occur as isolated incidents or as part of a series of injuries.
The cause can be any blow, jolt or bump to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all head trauma is going to result in a traumatic brain injury, and even those that do may result inn being fairly mild. For example, a person may suffer from a concussion or a brief loss of consciousness, but then have no long-lasting effects thereafter.
However, in some instances, a person who suffers a traumatic brain injury may suffer from extended periods of unconsciousness, amnesia or loss of other brain functions as a result of the injury.
Some cases in the long-term can result in changes to a person's thinking, sensation, language or emotions. In most cases, these impacts are negative, impairing a person's ability to communicate, express, understand, touch, taste smell, remember and reason or causing a person to become aggressive, anxious, depressed or socially inappropriate. Such injuries have also been known to cause epilepsy and put victims at increased risk for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders.
Many traumatic brain injury sufferers qualify for federal disability benefits. Traumatic brain injuries are specifically listed under the Social Security Administration's blue book impairment listing under cerebral trauma, Section 11.18. The section requires that the claimant be evaluated based on the symptoms of that injury. For example, if the person is suffering from epilepsy, they should be evaluated under that listing (11.02). If a person is suffering from a severe lack or ineffectiveness of speech or persistent disorganization of motor skills, they should be evaluated under the section governing central nervous system conditions (11.04).
Every case may be a bit different. Regardless of the cause of your or your loved one's traumatic brain injury, we are here to help you through the disability claims process.
Los Angeles Disability Benefits Attorney VINCENT HOWARD at HOWARD LAW can help. Call toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message online.
Vietnam vet's cross-country ride to benefit brain injury sufferers, June 19, 2013, By Benjamin C. Klein, New Hampshire Union Leader
Federal Disability Recipients Battle Stigma, June 7, 2013