How to Find Local or State Support After a Brain Injury

Question: 

My son had a closed head injury at 2 1/2 years of age as a result of motor vehicle crash. He was lucky to have no long-term serious health problems but he did struggle in school. He was diagnosed with a learning disability and with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. High school was a struggle, but he graduated. Now, as an adult, he’s having a lot of trouble keeping a job. He is able to stay at a job approximately one month at a time due to poor concentration and performance under pressure. I hesitate to suggest to him to apply for disability because of the high rate of first-time applicants being denied. We live in a small town where resources are non-existent. What do you suggest?

Answer: 

The cognitive, physical, and behavioral/emotional effects of brain injury can make finding and maintaining meaningful work a challenge. Every state has a federally funded agency that administers vocational rehabilitation (VR), supported employment, and independent living services.

Vocational rehabilitation can help people with disabilities prepare for work and can help put some supports in place. Many states maintain local and regional offices to provide services, so there may be one in your area. They can help try to match your son’s interests and strengths with the kind of job he’d like to have.

It’s true that people with disabilities can be turned down when first applying for disability benefits, but this can be for many different reasons — from incomplete forms or inadequate documentation of the disability. For an excellent discussion of how to maximize your chances of success when applying for Social Security benefits, please see BrainLine’s Figuring Out Social Security Benefits After a TBI. If your son decides to pursue Social Security benefits, he might also consider consulting an attorney.

You can also find local and state resources through our Brain Injury Resource Directory.

 

Posted on BrainLine October 11, 2011

Elaine Phillips

Elaine Phillips, MSP, CCC-SLP has more than 17 years of experience in the field of brain injury, both as a speech-language pathologist as well as managing the outpatient brain injury rehabilitation program at Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville, SC.

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