The Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur
North New Jersey: 973-200-6629
South New Jersey: 609-207-7905

Aphasia: not a compassionate allowance but still a disability

There are presently 224 disabling conditions listed as Compassionate Allowances. This list, compiled by the Social Security Administration, is added to regularly and contains conditions that have all met the SSA definition of a disability. This means that if a condition on this list is then listed on a disability application, that application is then immediately fast tracked and is more likely to result in benefits.

If the condition is not on the list, an applicant must demonstrate that their condition will last at least a year (or that it will result in death), that they cannot work, and are unable to adjust to other work because of the severity of their condition.

By looking at a particular condition known as aphasia, we hope to show our readers how even a condition that isn't found on the list can qualify as a disability and, as such, for benefits as well.

According to the National Aphasia Association, aphasia is "an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write," which occurs as a direct result of damage to the brain. As you may already know, brain damage often results because of a head injury but it can also result from a stroke, tumor or degenerative brain disease as well.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three main types of aphasia: Broca's, Wernicke's, and global. Even though all of these varieties impair a person's ability to process language, each form does this in markedly different ways.

Broca's or nonfluent aphasia speakers often have difficulty articulating and understanding language and generally speak in short sentences. In contrast, Wernicke's or fluent aphasia is characterized by long, complex sentences that do not make any sense to listeners because much of what is being said is unintelligible jargon. Global aphasia is considered the most severe and can leave a person with severe disabilities, including the inability to read or write.

Because there is no cure for aphasia -- only speech therapy -- a person lives with this condition their entire life. It can be disabling and can even prevent someone from working. Considering these things, as well as the SSA's definition of a disability, it's not difficult to see that any form of aphasia could lead to disability benefits.

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