According to the CDC more than 3 million adults have epilepsy. Epilepsy causes seizures that can make it difficult or impossible for someone to work full time. Seizures can sometimes be controlled with medication, but the cost of that medication can be very expensive. Even when on medication people with epilepsy can experience seizures that leave the worn out and unable to function for days. If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy and you can’t work and you expect to be unable to work for at least 12 months you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits can provide money that you need to pay for things like housing, bills, food, and other expenses.
Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits Due to Epilepsy Epilepsy is one of the conditions listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, which means that if you meet the requirements in the Blue Book listing for epilepsy you may be able to get disability benefits. The listing for epilepsy is very technical and there are separate requirements for convulsive and non-convulsive epilepsy. The Blue Book states that for convulsive seizers you must provide proof that you experience:
Daytime seizures that cause you to convulse or lose consciousness
Nighttime seizures that cause severe complications for you during the day, like problems staying awake, thinking clearly, or coordinating your physical movements.
In addition to experiencing seizures that meet this listing, you must also continue to have seizures at least once a month after you’ve been on anti-seizure medication(s) for at least three months. In order to qualify with non-convulsive epilepsy, you must provide proof that you have:
Seizures that occur during the day or night
Seizures that cause you to experience pronounced issues after each seizure, which may include things like unusual behaviors, trouble thinking, a lack of energy, difficulty staying awake, or other post-seizure symptoms that interrupt daytime activities.
You will need to provide as much medical evidence to support your claim as possible including a doctor’s diagnosis, treatment plans, test results, and proof of the impact of the seizures on your life.
Medical Vocational Allowance If you have epilepsy that makes it impossible for you to work but doesn’t meet the strict criteria listed in the Blue book you may be able to qualify for benefits under a Medical Vocational Allowance. To qualify you will need to demonstrate that your seizures or the aftermath of your seizures are so severe that they make it impossible to work with the skills that you have. When you fill out a claim for benefits you can ask for a Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation. This evaluation is done by the SSA to see if there’s any kind of work that you can reasonably be expected to do. If the SSA determines that there is no type of work that you can do because of epilepsy you can be approved for benefits even though you don’t meet the Blue Book listing requirements.
Applying for Social Security Benefits The best way to apply for Social Security disability benefits is to make an appointment at your local SSA office. Bring copies of all of your medical records and other documentation with you to the appointment. A staff member will help you fill out the application and submit your claim. If you have more questions about qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits, contact Amy Collier, CSW, Director of Social Work at 502.907.1534 or email her at email@example.com. Sources: