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Epilepsy and Social Security Disability

Epilepsy – Non convulsive Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has periodic, generally recurring seizures. It may come on a person at any point in life, and for a variety of reasons. Among the most common known causes of epilepsy are:

  • Head trauma. Often, injuries to the head such as those caused by car accidents cause seizures. In many cases, the injury is undetected until after seizures have occurred.
  • Dementia. This is the most common cause of epilepsy in elderly people.
  • Prenatal brain injuries.
  • Strokes.
  • Heart Attacks.
  • Genetic causes.
  • Down syndrome
  • Autism and other developmental disorders.
  • Disease (especially AIDS, encephalitis and meningitis)

In addition to the known causes, many cases of epilepsy have no discernible cause. Much about what triggers seizures is still unknown.

For Social Security purposes, epilepsy is divided into two subcategories: convulsive epilepsy and non convulsive epilepsy. As the names imply, convulsive epilepsy is epilepsy in which the seizures are accompanied with convulsions or loss of consciousness. Non convulsive epilepsy, on the other hand, tends to have milder symptoms. This is not to say that the symptoms of non convulsive epilepsy are not still disabling (they can be), but that they don’t generally include loss of consciousness.

There are actually several types of epileptic seizures which the SSA groups together as nonconvulsive epilepsy. These include:

  • Petit Mal (absence seizures): brief loss of awareness, blank stare, subtle yet uncontrollable body movements.
  • Tonic: Stiffening of muscles, especially in the back, legs, and arms. This often causes the person suffering from the seizure to fall.
  • Clonic: This type of seizure causes muscle contractions, which usually show in rhythmic jerking movements in the legs and arms. These may be subtle or more pronounced.
  • Myoclonic: Jerking movements begin and end suddenly. Again, these can be subtle or more pronounced.

Other symptoms common to non convulsive epilepsy include seeing auras before the affects on consciousness settle in.

Depending on the severity of seizures and how often they occur, many who have epileptic seizures, including non convulsive seizures, need to exercise extreme caution when driving, swimming, bathing, and operating or being near machinery. In some cases, they may not be able to do some of these activities at all.

Filing for Disability with an Epilepsy – Non convulsive Epilepsy Diagnosis

In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits with non convulsive epilepsy, you must have medical documentation showing that you are experiencing seizures at least once per week despite following the prescribed treatments of your doctor. These seizures must cause some alteration in your consciousness or behavior during the daytime.

You will need to make sure to include a complete description of your seizures, including all of the symptoms and phenomena which occur when you have them.

It is extremely important to remain under a physician’s care when applying for Social Security disability benefits. Your doctor should be made aware of all seizures, no matter how mild or severe, and the details regarding each seizure, including its duration, should be made a matter of medical record. The more thoroughly documented your condition is, the better chances you will have of being approved for disability benefits.

Obviously, you cannot time your seizures to make sure that a medical professional is there to document what you or going through and how long it lasts. It is important, therefore, to make sure that the people around you are aware of your condition and of the fact that you are applying for disability benefits based on it. Ask them to document what they can regarding what happens to you during a seizure so that you can better build your case regarding your disability.

Your Epilepsy – Non convulsive Epilepsy Disability Case

Qualifying for disability benefits with non convulsive epilepsy is often not quite as straight forward as qualifying with convulsive epilepsy. Some of the symptoms suffered in non convulsive epilepsy are debilitating, while others are not. If you are unsure whether your disabling condition qualifies you for Social Security disability benefits, you should consider speaking with a disability attorney.

While your doctor and the SSA will both have helpful information regarding your eligibility for disability benefits, your Social Security disability lawyer has a vested interest in finding a way to get you approved for disability benefits if it is possible to do so.

Social Security lawyers typically charge nothing for an initial evaluation of your case. If they do take your case, and you decide to file a claim for Social Security disability benefits, representation by a qualified Social Security attorney can make all the difference in the world between an approved claim and a denial.

Over 70% of initial claims are denied by the Social Security Administration. To have a Social Security lawyer look at your claim, just fill out the request for a free evaluation included on this page.