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Does brain injury from stun gunning qualify teen for SSDI?

What makes a person eligible to receive Social Security disability insurance benefits? The answer can be a complicated one.

The Social Security Administration puts a lot of energy into trying to provide the right information to those seeking it, but the devil is in the detail and that can lead to a lot of frustration. If you happen to be one of the many in California who attempt to make a claim for SSDI benefits without help and then see that claim rejected, the frustration factor only gets worse.

The goal of avoiding that frustration is one reason why we always advise working with an attorney experienced in dealing with the Social Security Administration system.

What prompts us to raise the question regarding eligibility is a story that comes out of Texas involving a 17-year-old high school student.

Until last November, this youth is said to have been much like any other teenager. But on Nov. 20, he was shot with a stun gun by a police officer in a hallway of his school. He fell to the ground and smacked his head on the hard floor and suffered a brain injury.

There are many questions about whether the authorities were justified in using the stun gun. Those issues will be addressed through a civil suit the family has filed. But it is what has happened since the events that suggest that an attorney's input on seeking SSDI benefits might be helpful. 

For 52 days after the stunning, doctors kept this young man in an induced coma as they tried to help him recover from a brain hemorrhage. Since then, he's been facing continued health issues. And last week, the family's attorney announced that the youth was admitted to a full-time rehabilitation facility.

The story doesn't say what the prognosis may be for this youth, but it is clear questions remain about whether he will ever be the same again. If it turns out that he is permanently disabled, then it might be appropriate to seek SSDI benefits. An attorney should be consulted.

Source: CNN, "Texas student tased by police exits coma, enters rehabilitation, attorney says," Elliott C. McLaughlin, Feb. 3, 2014

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