A. Definition
Stroke, also known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA), and cerebrovascular insult (CVI), is the loss of brain function due to a disturbance of blood supply to your brain. This deprivation is due to either an interruption of blood flow (clot) or hemorrhage (bleed) within the brain.

B. General information
A stroke is a medical emergency and can cause permanent neurological damage or death. Cerebrovascular disease was the leading cause of death worldwide in 2004. The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented and many fewer Americans die of stroke today than even 15 years ago. High blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor of stroke.

Strokes can be classified into two major categories: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are caused by interruption of the blood supply, while hemorrhagic strokes result from the rupture of a blood vessel or an abnormal vascular structure. About 87% of strokes are ischemic, the rest are hemorrhagic. Some hemorrhages develop inside areas of ischemia (“hemorrhagic transformation”). As a result, the affected area of your brain cannot function normally, which might result in an inability to move one or more of your limbs on one side of your body, failure to understand or formulate speech, or a vision impairment of one side of your visual field.

C. Social Security Medical Listing 11.04 — Central nervous system vascular accident
Residual damage from an ischemic or hemorrhagic brain insult varies widely among affected individuals, depending on the severity of the event and the amount of time elapsing prior to receiving medical attention. With medical treatment and therapy, you may recover to a point of functionality, and therefore, may not be considered disabled as the result of your stroke. However, the Social Security Administration recognizes that many stroke victims do not recover to their baseline and cannot engage in substantial gainful activity for 12 months or longer following a major ischemic or hemorrhagic event.

Disability due to stroke will not be evaluated by the Social Security Administration prior to three months’ after your vascular accident. Residual effects must include sensory or motor phasia resulting in ineffective speech or communication, or significant and persistent disorganization of motor function. Inefficiency of motor function can be in the form of paresis or paralysis, tremor, or other involuntary movements, ataxia and sensory disturbances — any or all of which may be due to cerebral, cerebellar, brain stem, spinal cord, or peripheral nerve dysfunction — occurring singly or in various combinations. This frequently will provide the basis for a decision in cases of neurological impairment. The assessment of your impairment will depend on the degree of interference with locomotion and/or interference with the use of your fingers, hands, and arms.

Your representative can help you determine whether the residual effects of your stroke are severe enough for you to qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration.