Can I get SSDI Because I Have Epilepsy?

Epilepsy General Overview

This section and the following section can be found in more depth at the resources at the bottom of this page.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that often causes individuals to have recurring seizures. These seizures occur when neurons in the brain send out the wrong signal or malfunction. These misfires can cause behavior change, strange sensations, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. There are many possible causes of epilepsy including brain trauma and abnormal brain development, but the true cause is often unknown.

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Conditions and Symptoms

The two most common types of seizures are epileptic seizures and non-epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures occur repeatedly without a specific trigger. When a person suffers from repeated seizures like this, it is referred to as a seizure disorder. A seizure disorder can be caused by different factors including genetics, birth defects, injuries, medications, low oxygen levels, and low blood sugar. When a person has a case of non-epileptic seizures, it is usually caused by an underlying condition such as a fever or an injury.

According to EpilepsyFoundation.org:
The symptoms of seizure disorder vary from individual to individual. Many of the people who suffer from seizure disorder experience unusual sensations in the body before the seizure begins. Some experience uncontrollable shaking and a loss of consciousness. Others just stop moving, “blacking out” and becoming unaware of what is occurring around them. When a doctor suspects that a patient is suffering from seizure disorder, he or she will take a variety of tests to diagnose the condition. Some of the tests performed may include brain imaging, blood tests and recording of the brain’s electrical activity.

While the symptoms following a seizure usually range from nausea to headaches, if the seizure is severe enough it can result in long term debilitating brain damage.

While there is no cure for seizure disorder, treatment for seizure disorder is available. Medications can often be prescribed to help control the seizures, but not all patients will respond to treatment. Some cases of seizure disorder may be treated with restricted diet changes or, in severe cases, surgery.

Does Epilepsy Qualify Me for SSDI?

Seizure disorder, also known as epilepsy, can be a challenging and debilitating condition to live with. The condition only affects .05 percent of the population, but those who suffer from seizure disorder are often unable to work because of the affects the condition has on their physical capacity.

Section 11.00 Neurological

A. Epilepsy. In epilepsy, regardless of etiology, degree of impairment will be determined according to type, frequency, duration, and sequelae define this word of seizures. At least one detailed description of a typical seizure is required. Such description includes the presence or absence of aura, tongue bites, sphincter control, injuries associated with the attack, and postictal define phenomena. The reporting physician should indicate the extent to which description of seizures reflects his own observations and the source of ancillary information. Testimony of persons other than the claimant is essential for description of type and frequency of seizures if professional observation is not available.

Under 11.02 and 11.03, the criteria can be applied only if the impairment persists despite the fact that the individual is following prescribed antiepileptic treatment. Adherence to prescribed antiepileptic therapy can ordinarily be determined from objective clinical findings in the report of the physician currently providing treatment for epilepsy. Determination of blood levels of phenytoin sodium or other antiepileptic drugs may serve to indicate whether the prescribed medication is being taken. When seizures are occurring at the frequency stated in 11.02 or 11.03, evaluation of the severity of the impairment must include consideration of the serum drug levels.

For a more extensive answer, visit SSA.Gov

If you or a loved one have experienced or are currently dealing with epilepsy and you are unsure of how to proceed, please contact Salt Lake City Social Security Disability Lawyers and let us help you work through the process of securing the Social Security Disability benefits that you deserve.

Resources