Work and School
For many people, work is an important part of their identity. In many cases, returning to work or school is an achievable goal. But how you defined work before your treatment may be different from how you define it now. Perhaps you will decide to work or return to school part-time instead of full-time, for example.
If you are considering returning to work or school, you will certainly have many questions. When can I return? What types of work can I do? What if I go back to work and realize I am not able to perform the same functions I once could? If I am receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, how will returning to work affect this? Are there services to help me ease into returning to work?
If you decide to return to work or school and your doctor says it is okay to do so, you might face some challenges. Many people are not aware of the “background” deficits associated with brain trauma, so your employer may not understand that expecting you to perform at your previous capacity might be unrealistic.
Before returning to work or school, it is important for you to be assessed by a neuropsychiatrist, neuropsychologist, or other rehabilitation professional to determine what cognitive deficits you may have, as they will impact how you function in the workplace/classroom. These deficits might include memory, organizational skills, language processing, concentration, and higher-level thinking skills. Cognitive therapists can work with you to regain some functioning, as well as offer strategies for compensating for any deficits.
Many survivors rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. SSDI allows you to work on a trial basis for up to nine months before terminating your benefits. SSDI also offers vocational rehabilitation programs to assist you with finding work suited to your special needs. If necessary, physical aids can be provided, as well as job-placement services. Contact your local Social Security office for more information.