Some of the people whose lives are affected by epilepsy are able to control their symptoms with medication, but for others their uncontrolled seizures affect all parts of their lives and in severe cases make it impossible for them to hold a job.
If you cannot work due to frequent seizures, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Proving seizures to satisfy Social Security requirements can be difficult, but don’t let that stop you. You may be eligible for benefits if the symptoms of your epilepsy interfere with your activities to such an extent that there are no jobs that you can always perform safely. In evaluating your application for disability benefits the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider many factors, including:
• your age
• your level of education
• your transferable work skills
• any other medical/psychiatric conditions that affect your ability to work, and
• any restrictions that your doctor has given you, such as no driving, no working around machinery, and so on.
What you will have to prove to Social Security is that your condition prevents you from performing any job. Showing that you are unable to do your previous job is not enough to be awarded benefits. On your disability application, you will need to provide solid medical evidence of your condition. It is important to show Social Security that your seizures continue despite taking your medication as prescribed.
SSA employees and administrative law judges use what the agency calls the bluebook as their primary source of information on how to process claims for Social Security benefits. For the bluebook listing on epilepsy go to:https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/11.00-Neurological-Adult.htm#11_02.
When applying for benefits, we recommend that you first give an overview of your condition. You should describe the daily complications of your illness, as well as the type, frequency, and duration of your seizures. SSA will need a detailed description of a typical seizure. You should note any effects that precede the episode, including presence or absence of aura, and your injuries and experiences afterwards, including tongue bites, loss of bodily control, and head or neck injuries. It will also help your claim to provide a third party’s description of what happens to you during one of your seizures.
In addition to a detailed diagnosis, your physician should provide observations and a prognosis of your condition. Your doctor’s opinion should be consistent with your own description of your symptoms and complications.
Finally, include information about your treatments. You should list the medications you are taking to control your seizures, as well as how you are responding to treatment, and any side effects you experience. Blood test results may be useful in proving that you are following the prescribed dosage of anti-epileptic medication. Non-compliance with treatment is the number one reason for denial of claims.
You should be aware that many disability applications are denied the first time around due to incomplete information.
We can help you through the application and the entire process, making it more likely that your case will be approved. At Cuddigan Law you have a dedicated team of professionals in your corner who understand the system and who will fight for your rights. Give us a call for a free evaluation of your situation.