Millions of Americans walk around every day with a “ticking time bomb” inside their bodies. They have an aneurysm somewhere inside their body that is restricting blood flow to vital organs and could rupture at any moment.
Those who have an aneurysm may not be able to perform daily living tasks or work activities as they may aggravate the aneurysm and could lead to a life-threatening rupture.
Sometimes, those with aneurysms that significantly hinder their ability to work could qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to help with their living expenses.
What is an Aneurysm?
An aneurysm is the weakening of a blood vessel’s arterial wall that creates an enlargement or bulging of the vessel. Aneurysms can occur in any blood vessel, but mainly develop in major arteries, most commonly in those arteries supplying blood flow to the heart (aorta) and brain (cerebral).
Most aneurysms occur without symptoms and do not pose a major health risk. But, some aneurysms can reach a severe stage in which rupture is imminent and could cause life-threatening internal bleeding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aortic aneurysms cause over 25,000 deaths each year in the United States, and brain aneurysms cause around 12,000 deaths each year.
If they discover an aneurysm early, a physician will monitor its size and rate of growth and suggest ways to manage risk factors of rupture through medication or dietary and lifestyle changes. Some aneurysms can be surgically removed.
SSDI and Aneurysms
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a 5 step process to determine a claimant’s eligibility for disability benefits. Those seeking disability benefits for a brain aneurysm will go through the following process:
- Determine if the claimant is working at or above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level as defined by the SSA in the year they file. The SGA level for 2021 is a monthly income of $1,310.
- Determine if the claimant’s complications from the aneurysm significantly limits their ability to perform basic work activities such as
- pulling or pushing
- lifting or carrying
- simple cognitive reasoning
- Determine if the claimant’s type and stage of aneurysm meet the criteria outlined in the SSA’s impairments list. The impairment listing has separate criteria for aortic and brain aneurysms.
For those within an aortic aneurysm, the listing says a claimant must have medical proof showing a dissection of the aneurysm (separation of the inner arterial lining of the artery wall) that cannot be controlled by any prescribed treatment and causes one or more of the following:
- persistent chest pains
- increase in size of the aneurysm, or
- aneurysm compresses one or more major branches of your aorta which supply blood flow to organs, such as the heart, brain, or kidneys.
Claimant’s with a brain aneurysm must have medical proof showing one or more of the following:
—an inability to communicate due to aphasia for three months longer,
—an inability to control movement of at least two extremities (either an arm and a leg or two arms or two legs), despite at least three months of treatment. This must cause extreme difficulty in the ability to balance while standing or walking, to stand up from a seated position, or to use the arms.
—a noted physical limitation along with difficulty with one of the following functions:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information,
- Interacting with others,
- Concentrating or maintaining pace, or
- Adapting or managing oneself
- Determine if the claimant can still do any work they may have done in the past despite the weakness is caused by their brain aneurysm.
- Determine if the claimant can do any other work based on their:
- prior work experience
- mental and physical capabilities
Getting Help with Your Disability Claim
If you have an aneurysm which affects your ability to work, you could qualify for disability benefits. But, proving your claim could be challenging. Having the help of an experienced disability lawyer with your claim could increase your chances of getting approved for benefits. An experienced disability attorney will know what you need to do to prove your claim and help you do it.
Brock & Stout’s disability lawyers have over 25 years of experience helping those with aneurysms filed disability claims. Contact us today for a free evaluation to see if we can help you get the benefits you need.