Why Some People With Epilepsy Get Social Security Disability Benefits and Some Don’t

Binder with epilepsy printed on the spine surrounded by medsEpilepsy does not affect everyone the same way. Some people with this brain disorder have few seizures and their condition is well controlled with medication. Other people have seizures that are more frequent, and they do not respond as well to medication. People with epilepsy who are able to control their seizures with medication are often able to hold down a job, while other epileptics may be unable to work. Accordingly, the Social Security Administration approves some, but not all, Social Security disability applications filed by people with epilepsy.

Four Things to Consider

Social Security disability applications for epilepsy (and other conditions) can be complicated. Applicants must provide a great deal of information to the Social Security Administration in order to prove they are eligible for disability benefits.

In general, the Social Security Administration is going to be looking at:

  • Whether you have convulsive or non-convulsive epilepsy
  • The frequency of your seizures
  • The duration of your seizures, and your overall condition
  • The type of seizures that you experience

Both convulsive epilepsy and non-convulsive epilepsy are included in Section 11 of the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability With Convulsive Epilepsy or Non-Convulsive Epilepsy

If you have convulsive epilepsy, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you:

  • Have a detailed description of a typical seizure pattern including all associated phenomena
  • Experience seizures more frequently than once a month—despite taking medication for at least three months
  • Have daytime episodes of loss of consciousness, convulsive seizures, or nighttime episodes that significantly affect your daily activities

If you have non-convulsive epilepsy, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you:

  • Have a detailed description of a typical seizure pattern including all associated phenomena
  • Experience seizures more frequently than once a week—despite taking medication or at least three months
  • Have seizures that leave you with altered awareness, loss of consciousness, confusion, or disorientation that significantly interferes with your daily activities.

Additionally, you must establish that you have taken anticonvulsant medication for at least three months and that you still suffer from seizures that interfere with your daily activities and ability to work. You may also need to prove that you are following your doctor’s orders and abstaining from drugs and alcohol—they could interfere with the efficacy of your epilepsy medication.

Learn More About Your Rights

The benefit application process can be complicated—the Social Security Administration wants specific information, and it wants it in a specific way. If you fail to provide the required information, you may be denied Social Security disability benefits even if you qualify for them. Accordingly, we encourage you to learn more by reading our FREE Social Security Disability Fact Sheet or by starting a live chat with us today.

 

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law