Market Overview

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month


Individuals with brain injury face unique challenges when applying for Social Security Disability Insurance

Belleville, Ill. (Vocus) -- Each year, approximately 1.4 million people experience traumatic brain injuries (TBI). That's why organizations like the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) will observe National Brain Injury Awareness Month throughout March 2010. Allsup, a national Social Security Disability Insurance representation company, recognizes the impact of brain injuries on individuals and families, and is pleased to help raise awareness of this important public health issue.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of TBI are:
• Falls (28 percent);
• Motor vehicle-traffic crashes (20 percent);
• Struck by/against events (19 percent); and
• Assaults (11 percent).1
The CDC estimates that at least 3.17 million Americans currently have a long-term or lifelong need for help to perform activities of daily living as a result of a TBI.

BIAA and its nationwide network of Chartered State Affiliates regularly work with individuals with brain injury who encounter obstacles in trying to access important public programs, including Social Security disability benefits.

"Many of the characteristics of brain injury impairment are not obvious or familiar to the general public," explained Greg Ayotte, BIAA director of consumer services.

Such characteristics include balance problems, car sickness, sensitivity to bright lights and visual stimuli, irritability, fatigue, sensory overload related to difficulties filtering out background noise, inability to initiate or to follow through on tasks, and, quite commonly, a lack of self-awareness of one's own cognitive deficits.

Individuals with brain injuries may struggle with the requirements to merely get an SSDI claim started—including initiating the application, completing forms and meeting filing deadlines.

Allsup senior claims manager David Bueltemann acknowledges the SSDI application process can be difficult to navigate. "Sixty-five percent of all initial disability claims are denied and the average wait time can be two to four years," he said.

"The challenge for all individuals who apply for SSDI is communicating symptoms and limitations clearly and effectively," said Mr. Buelteman. "If the information is incomplete, untimely filed, or confusing, delays and/or denials are the likely outcome.

"Brain injury patients are frequently susceptible to being unable to accurately relay how the injury affects them on a day by day basis. It is important for family, friends or professional representatives to guide brain injury patients through the process to avoid undesired consequences."

SSDI is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program designed to provide individuals with income if they are unable to work due to a disability. Raising awareness of TBI, the issues that surround it and available resources, is one step toward making SSDI and other public programs more accessible to individuals with brain injuries.

Allsup is offering free Brain Injury Awareness Week posters to healthcare providers, community groups and support groups nationwide. Please call Karen Hercules-Doerr at 1-800-854-1418, ext. 5770 or order online.


Brain Injury Association of America
Wendy Leedy
(703) 761-0750, ext. 622

Karen Hercules-Doerr
(800) 854-1418, ext. 5770

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and workers' compensation services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 600 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis.

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