Woman remembers nothing, but government says she’s not disabled

Not all disabilities are created equal. In fact, what some people in Oregon consider to be disabilities aren’t actually disabilities under the definition of the Social Security Administration. This means that some people who have severe difficulty in their daily lives might not be eligible to receive benefits under Social Security disability.

One woman has trouble performing daily tasks now, due to a pregnancy complication that stopped her heart and left her in a coma for nearly two weeks. She was told by doctors that she will be permanently unable to remember anything that happened to her — her childhood, her wedding, her children’s birth, or anything going forward.

As a result of the brain damage she suffered, the woman can’t work in her former job, as a hospital monitor technician. She also can’t do everyday tasks that most people take for granted. Cooking is out, because she might forget to turn off the burners; she can’t take a walk around her block because she might get lost.

The woman recently applied for Social Security disability insurance benefits. Her neurosurgeon had told her that her condition would leave her permanently disabled and she wouldn’t be able to work again. However, her claim was denied because the SSA ruled that she could work — just not at the same job. She could do jobs that don’t require her to remember things, such as peeling potatoes or watching security monitors.

Cases such as this one are a good illustration of why a Social Security disability benefits attorney can be of use — people who are applying for benefits don’t generally have the background and experience needed to present their case to those who would make decisions.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Woman to government: My inability to remember qualifies me as disabled,” Brian Nordli, Aug. 25, 2013

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