If you suffer from epilepsy that is so severe it impacts your daily life and makes it impossible for you to work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for those who meet specific criteria that show they are unable to work.
To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you have had to work enough to earn sufficient credits and to have paid in adequate taxes. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a disability benefit that is available to low-income individuals who meet the disability guidelines but who may not have worked enough to be eligible for SSDI benefits.
Tip #1: Gather as much medical evidence as possible.
Because you must meet the specific medical criteria to qualify for disability benefits, supplying detailed and accurate medical records with your claim are imperative. You need to include all examination records, physician notes, test results, treatment plans and their outcome, and detailed restrictions and limitations that support your claim. Your complete medical records should document the frequency of seizures and if they result in altered consciousness. Your physician may be asked to complete a residual functioning capacity (RFC) form which details all your limitations and restrictions clearly stating what you can and cannot do.
Tip #2: Take necessary evaluations at your doctor's office.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by seizures. Seizures are the results of the brain’s cells sending too many signals through body and disrupting your brain’s normal function. While there is no known cause for epilepsy, it can result from brain tumors, genetics, birth trauma, head injuries, congenital brain development problems, or medications. Tests that support your diagnosis and the severity of symptoms include an EEG, MRI, PET scan, CT scan, and other kinds of neurophysiological tests.
Tip #3: Show how epilepsy keeps you from working.
Documentation is the key to a successful claim. You need to be able to show your limitations and how your condition keeps you from being able to work. As an example, if you can prove that you suffer at least one seizure each month despite taking your prescription medication. If your seizures cause you to experience convulsions or lose consciousness that causes severe fatigue and drowsiness that impacts your work day.
Tip #4: Get in contact with someone who can help.
Getting approved for Social Security disability benefits with epilepsy can be a real challenge. It can take months for the initial decision. You claim can be denied twice and you can file an appeal both times. The final step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge for him or her to rule on your case. If you have an advocate or an attorney help you with your disability claim, you are much more likely to be approved for benefits.
You should consult with an advocate as soon as you decide to file your claim, so you can make certain all the documentation is sent in at the proper time to help with the decision-making process.