Can I Get Disability Benefits for Epilepsy?

How Can I Get Disability Benefits for Epilepsy?

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Individuals can apply for Social Security Disability benefits for epilepsy if they’re unable to work due to their condition. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes repeated, spontaneous seizures. The seizures themselves can cause symptoms that last days after an episode, such as exhaustion and muscle soreness.

The threat of unexpected seizures makes it dangerous to perform jobs that require frequent standing or movement. While medications can help, they’re often expensive and not effective for everyone.

In 2021, the CDC reported that nearly three million adults in the United States had been diagnosed with epilepsy. If epilepsy affects your ability to function in daily life, read on to learn how you can qualify for disability benefits.

Epilepsy and Disability Benefits: How To Qualify

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes epilepsy as a qualifying condition for disability benefits. If your epilepsy prevents you from working, you have a strong chance of filing for these benefits successfully. However, you will first need to provide substantial evidence supporting your claim.

Your disability must clearly meet the medical criteria described under the impairment listing in the Blue Book. Additionally, you must satisfy the SSA’s general eligibility criteria to receive disability payments.

The SSA’s eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • You cannot perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) because of your disability.
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
  • You cannot perform any previous or new types of work because of your disability.

How Does the SSA Define Epilepsy?

The SSA uses the Blue Book as a guide to review claims and assess eligibility. In the Blue Book, epilepsy is listed under Section 11.00 for neurological disorders, specifically subsection 11.02.

The SSA classifies epilepsy into two categories: convulsive epilepsy and non-convulsive epilepsy.

Non-Convulsive Epilepsy

If you have non-convulsive epilepsy and experience dyscognitive seizures, you must provide evidence of at least one of the following:

  • Dyscognitive seizures that occur at least once a week for at least 3 consecutive months, even with prescribed treatment.
  • Dyscognitive seizures that occur at least once every 2 weeks for at least 3 consecutive months, with prescribed treatment; and a marked limitation in one of the following (as defined by the Blue Book):
  • Physical functioning
  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • Interacting with others
  • Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
  • Adapting or managing oneself

Convulsive Epilepsy

If you have convulsive epilepsy and experience generalized tonic-clonic seizures, you must provide evidence of one of the following:

  • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures that occur at least once a month for at least 3 consecutive months, even with prescribed treatment.
  • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures that occur at least once every 2 months for at least 4 consecutive months, with prescribed treatment; and a marked limitation in one of the following:
  • Physical functioning
  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • Interacting with others
  • Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
  • Adapting or managing oneself

Documenting Your Epilepsy

To qualify for Social Security Disability with epilepsy, you need to provide documented evidence of your epileptic seizures. You must submit a detailed account of your seizures from another individual, preferably a medical professional, who has witnessed at least one of your typical seizures. If you experience more than one type of seizure, you must provide descriptions for each type.

Necessary Evidence

To evaluate the severity of your neurological condition, the SSA requires a combination of medical and non-medical evidence. This can include signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings.

Navigating the medical and legal aspects of filing for disability can be challenging, especially when dealing with a condition that limits your activity. This is why hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer can be beneficial. An attorney can assist in gathering medical records, completing application materials, and handling any legal challenges that arise.

SSI & SSDI for Epilepsy

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two disability benefit programs. These programs provide financial relief to disabled individuals who can’t work.

To qualify for SSDI with epilepsy, you must meet the SSA’s definition of disabled and SSDI eligibility requirements. Social Security Disability Insurance is for disabled workers. It’s only awarded to people who have worked and paid payroll taxes throughout their life, thereby earning work credits.

To qualify for SSI, you must be disabled, blind, or aged (65 or older) with limited income and resources. SSI is a needs-based program. Unlike SSDI, SSI applicants are not required to have a previous work history to receive benefits. This program aims to help people who are unable to support themselves due to disability or age.

Apply for Social Security Disability for Epilepsy With Our Help

If you’re living with epilepsy, disability benefits may be the support you need to get back on your feet. However, applying for benefits can be extremely tedious and complicated. Often, initial claims are denied due to simple filing mistakes or failure to provide substantial evidence to the SSA.

When you need help applying for Social Security Disability for epilepsy, call Slepian Ellexson, PLLC. We are a trusted Social Security Disability law firm in Phoenix, AZ. We have over 40 years of experience helping clients obtain crucial financial assistance.

Contact us today to set up a free case evaluation.

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