Social Security Disability and Epilepsy
If you are an adult who has epilepsy, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your case based on the type, duration, frequency, and nature of the epilepsy. Since well-controlled epilepsy may not be disabling, it’s required to prove that your epilepsy has an impact on your daily life, even when you are taking proper prescription medication.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a kind of brain disorder that causes individuals to have seizures on a recurring basis. Sometimes, it can result from a condition like a stroke or cerebral palsy, but other causes are unknown. Seizure symptoms can range from severe things like loss of consciousness and convulsions to less problematic symptoms like staring spells. In many cases, the seizures vary in frequency. To be diagnosed with epilepsy, at least two unprovoked seizures must be in your history.
Does Epilepsy Qualify for Disability?
It depends on your exact case, but some people with epilepsy will qualify for disability. You’ll need to file for benefits, which a claims examiner, and possibly a medical consultant, will go over. Some things that will be under scrutiny include:
- Diagnosis of epilepsy
- Detailed treatment history including treatments and medications
- Descriptions of your typical seizures and all symptoms before and after the occurrence
- Results of an EEG
- A doctor’s statement to your frequency of seizures and how they manifest
- A third-party individual’s description of your seizures
- Records of the frequency of past seizures
Qualifying Under Blue Book Listing
The SSA has a list of specific requirements that you need to meet to get disability benefits for epilepsy. These are based on listing 11.02 for Convulsive and Non–convulsive Epilepsy in the Blue Book. You’ll need to qualify based on information about the frequency and type of seizures you suffer from.
Remember that there are also disability guidelines for children who have epilepsy, but these are a bit different.
Individuals who experience convulsive seizures will be required to show evidence of seizures that occur at least once every two months for four months or longer while taking medication. Limitations in one of the following are also required:
- Adapting or managing oneself
- Concentrating, maintaining pace, or persisting
- Interacting with other people
- Physical functioning
- Understanding, applying, or remembering information
Those who have non-convulsive seizures will need to show that they occur at least once a week for a period of at least three months, even while on the appropriate medication. It also must be shown that you have limitations in one of the following:
- Applying, remembering, or understanding information
- Managing or adapting oneself
- Interacting with others
- Physical functioning
- Persisting, maintaining pace, or concentrating
Qualifying Under Medical-Vocational Guidelines
Even people who do not meet all the listings above may still qualify for benefits. This is the case if your epilepsy symptoms lead to interference in your activities to the point where you cannot consistently and safely perform work tasks. To determine whether this is the case, the claims examiner assigned to your case will analyze your symptoms and condition, as well as other factors. These include:
- Education level
- Other psychiatric and medical conditions that affect the ability to work
- Transferable work skills
- Special doctor’s restrictions such as not being able to work around machinery or being unable to drive a vehicle.
In order to qualify for medical-vocation benefits for epilepsy, it has to be shown that you are unable to perform any kind of work on a full-time basis. Showing that you cannot do the job you used to do isn’t enough to be provided with benefits.
For more information or help with your application for disability benefits for epilepsy, you can reach out to the Disability Help Center. We offer a free consultation!