What are the Benefits of Applying for SSDI with Epilepsy?

Disabilities of many types afflict millions of Americans at any one time. For a smaller number of people, the severity of the disability may be so bad that gainful employment must be abandoned and financial hardship becomes a problem. Epilepsy is a disability that is unpredictable and can strike anyone of any age, gender or ethnic background at any time, although it tends to affect children or older adults the most. Epilepsy may be experienced so often even with treatment that continuing employment may be impossible and even dangerous. This is when it is advisable to apply for a disability benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA). A disability benefit may be obtained if the epilepsy sufferer is unlikely to be able to earn a living for at least the next 12 months and their epilepsy symptoms match the SSA’s criteria for severity.

Financial Help with Epilepsy

The SSA administers two types of disability benefits. For those people who have been employed for long enough and have paid sufficient social security insurance payments in the payroll tax, a social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefit may be available. To be eligible to obtain SSDI benefits the applicant must have accumulated sufficient work credits through employment and paying tax. The number of work credits needed to be eligible depends partly on age when the application is made. Younger people need fewer credits than older people.

The SSA also offers supplemental security income (SSI) benefits to those epilepsy sufferers who do not have enough assets, income or work credits to be eligible for SSDI. The amount of benefit is increased each year by a small amount based on the increase in the cost of living.

Retirement and Survivors' Benefits

Anyone who has accumulated 40 work credits at retirement age (65 years) should qualify for a retirement benefit. These work credits are accumulated by paying social security insurance through payroll tax. There is no more retirement benefit paid after 40 work credits have been earned.

If you die and have a spouse, dependent children or parents, they may be entitled to be paid survivors’ benefits. The eligibility for survivors’ benefits depends on the number of work credits like other benefits paid out by the SSA. The younger you are when you die, the fewer work credits needed for your family to be eligible to receive survivors’ benefits.

Medicare Coverage

If you are not yet at retirement age, and have been obtaining a SSDI or SSI benefit for at least the preceding 24 months you may be eligible to receive a Medicare card. Medicare cover allows you to access a range of medical services for free, something which is important if you have epilepsy and need regular treatment. Medicare covers things like medication, doctor’s visits, tests and scans and hospital treatment.

Return to Work Incentives and the Ticket to Work Program

In some cases, epilepsy sufferers may find that their seizures become less frequent or less severe, and may decide that they would like to return to work in a job that their disability is taken into consideration. The SSA provides the voluntary Ticket to Work program for any epilepsy sufferer who has been receiving a disability benefit. This program is designed to help beneficiaries achieve a greater degree of financial independence.

The PASS Program

 The SSA’s Pass program is a similar pathway to employment for disability recipients who are keen to get a job and become less dependent on a SSDI or SSI benefit.

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