Organic Brain Syndrome

Social Security Lawyers Committed to Advocating for Massachusetts Claimants

Organic brain syndrome, or what the Social Security Administration (SSA) calls “organic mental disorders,” consists of psychological or behavioral problems caused by brain dysfunction. These may include traumatic brain injury, degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis, and lead poisoning. Based in Massachusetts, the dedicated Social Security attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates have assisted beneficiaries and recipients of government benefits for more than two decades. Some of our clients have come from New Hampshire and Rhode Island as well. Our knowledgeable team has spent their careers cultivating the knowledge and skill needed to help our clients maneuver through the complicated issues that arise in this area. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

How Organic Brain Syndrome Can Form a Basis for Disability Benefits

An individual may be able to pursue a successful claim for government benefits if he or she has lost the ability to work because of a disease or another medical issue that will result in death or last at least 12 months. When the Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses an application, it first will compare the claimant’s cited condition and symptoms to relevant sections in its Listing of Impairments. This is a list of medical conditions that are identified as being severe enough to prevent a person from working and therefore qualify him or her for disability benefits.

Organic mental diseases (OMD) are evaluated under section 12.02, which specifies certain distinctive criteria for individuals who base claims for benefits on an OMD. There are two ways to show your eligibility by using this section. First, you can point to the loss of specific mental abilities or affective changes accompanied by persistent mental problems. In addition, you must show that you are afflicted by at least two symptoms in a list that extends from restrictions on normal daily activities and difficulty in social functioning to difficulty concentrating and the failure to develop effective coping mechanisms.

Alternately, you can demonstrate a history of a documented organic mental disorder that has lasted more than two years and has made you unable to work. It must be combined with a repeated failure to develop coping mechanisms, extreme sensitivity to changes in mental demands, or an inability to function effectively outside a supported living environment for at least the past year. No matter which way you choose to prove your eligibility under this section, therefore, you must provide strong medical evidence showing that the disorder prevents you from working. An attorney can collaborate with your health care provider in compiling the needed records.

You should lose no time in starting the application process once you realize that you are suffering from a disability. Applications can be completed in person, online, or over the phone, but they often require several months to process. Initially, the SSA will look through your materials to ensure that you have worked long enough to be eligible for its benefits program. If you meet the basic requirements, their staff will transfer the application to the Disability Determination Services Office in the state where you live. This office will carefully evaluate your materials with a view to answering five key questions:

  • Are you in a job at the time of your application? If you are not, or if you are earning very little from your work, continue to 2.
  • How serious is your disease or health condition? Recall that you can be eligible only if you are terminally ill or have suffered from your disability for at least a year.
  • Can the condition that afflicts you be found in the Listing? If your disability meets the criteria of a section in the Listing, the state agency probably will deem you disabled. If not, continue to 4.
  • Can you still do the same work that you did before? If you can, you will be ineligible for government benefits. If you cannot, the inquiry will continue to the final question.
  • Do you have the capacity to perform the duties of other jobs? If you are unable to do any other type of work that is available in the United States, the Disability Determination Services Office will find that you are disabled.
Compassionate Massachusetts Attorneys Ready to Help You Pursue Government Benefits

At the Massachusetts law firm of Kantrovitz & Associates, you will find dedicated government benefits lawyers who help applicants and beneficiaries in Middlesex, Essex, Plymouth, Norfolk, and Suffolk Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. If you have questions about whether an organic mental disorder qualifies you for Social Security, our Boston-based attorneys will take the time needed to learn about your situation and explain your options. Contact us today by calling toll-free at 1-800-367-0871 or reaching out to us via the contact form on our site.