Can I get disability or SSI benefits for my seizures?
If you suffer from epilepsy or some other seizure disorder and have uncontrolled seizures, you may be wondering if it is possible to obtain Social Security disability benefits. The answer to this question is yes, it is possible to obtain Social Security disability benefits as a result of your seizures. There are several conditions that must be met before a successful claim for disability benefits because of seizures can be made.
Social Security Disability Rules for Seizures
Under Social Security disability, there are certain impairments that are considered severe enough that they prevent a person from performing substantial gainful activity. If an individual is able to meet the requirements for one of these listings, then they are considered to be disabled and can be awarded Social Security disability benefits.
Epilepsy (and other seizure disorders) are evaluated under listing 11.02, which focuses on epilepsy and seizure disorders. Under this listing, there are four ways to obtain disability benefits by meeting the requirements of the listing. Two of the options are for individuals who suffer generalized tonic-clonic seizures, also known as “grand mal” seizures. The other two options are for individuals who suffer from dyscognitive seizures, also known absence as “petit mal” seizures. Under any of the options, it is a requirement that an individual is following the treatment that has been prescribed by a medical professional. Furthermore, it is necessary to be able to provide proof of medical treatment in order to be successful in any disability claim.
In order to meet the listing for tonic-clonic seizures an individual must either have a tonic-clonic seizure at least once a month for three consecutive months despite medical treatment or the tonic-clonic seizures must occur at least once every two months for at least four consecutive months and have a marked limitation in: (1) physical functioning, (2) understanding, remembering, or applying information, (3) interaction with others, (4) concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace or (5) adapting or managing oneself despite medical treatment.
To meet the listing for a dyscognitive seizure an individual must have either a dyscognitive seizure at least once a week for at least three consecutive months despite treatment or have at least one dyscognitive seizure every two weeks for at least 3 consecutive months despite treatment and the individual must have a marked limitation in: : (1) physical functioning, (2) understanding, remembering, or applying information, (3) interaction with others, (4) concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace or (5) adapting or managing oneself.
How Drug and Alcohol Use affects disability for Seizures
Another factor that must be considered for disability involving seizures is whether there is evidence of drug addiction or alcoholism. For Social Security disability, if there is evidence of past drug or alcohol use, then the administrative law judge conducting the hearing may find that the drug or alcohol use is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability. If this is the case, then the judge has determined that the disabling limitations have resulted from drug or alcohol use and that any limitations not caused by drugs or alcohol are not severe enough to be disabling. For individuals who are afflicted with seizures and have a past history of drug or alcohol use, the judge will ultimately determine if the drugs and/or alcohol contributed to the seizures and if it did, then a claim for disability benefits might be unsuccessful.
What should I do if I want to get disability for my seizures?
Successfully obtaining Social Security disability benefits as a result of epilepsy or another seizure disorder is a difficult and involving process that contains many different factors and considerations. In order to optimize your chances of obtaining benefits if you do suffer from seizures, it is important to retain an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer who understands the Social Security disability system and seizure disorder. Our office will do everything in our power to aid you in the process of obtaining Social Security disability benefits. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation.