Can I get Social Security Disability benefits for epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by unusual nerve cell activity in the brain. The hallmark symptom of epilepsy is a seizure.  Statistically, 1 in 26 people is diagnosed with epilepsy and each year about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed. with the central nervous system disorder that causes seizures.

Seizures can cause a range of symptoms, from momentarily staring blankly to loss of awareness and uncontrollable twitching. Some seizures can be milder than others, but even minor seizures can be dangerous if they occur during activities like swimming or driving.

Our Luling office is often contacted to help evaluate disability claims for those with epilepsy.  When we speak with you about your epilepsy disability claim, we will evaluate whether you can meet the Social Security Disability listing for epilepsy or if your epilepsy causes impairments that are not compatible with any work that may be available. 

To meet the listing for epilepsy, we will need to have a good description from your medical provider of a typical seizure plus one of the following:

  • Generalized tonic-clonic or Dyscognitive seizures occurring at least once a month for at least 3 consecutive months despite adherence to prescribed treatment. OR
  • Dyscognitive seizures occurring at least once a week for at least 3 consecutive months despite adherence to prescribed treatment. OR
  • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures occurring at least once every 2 months for at least 4 consecutive months despite adherence to prescribed treatment PLUS a marked limitation in one of the following:
    1. Physical functioning; or
    2. Understanding, remembering, or applying information; or
    3. Interacting with others; or
    4. Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
    5. Adapting or managing oneself.

OR

  • Dyscognitive seizures occurring at least once every 2 weeks for at least 3 consecutive months despite adherence to prescribed treatment PLUS a marked limitation in one of the following:
    1. Physical functioning; or
    2. Understanding, remembering, or applying information; or
    3. Interacting with others; or
    4. Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
    5. Adapting or managing oneself.

If your epilepsy is not severe enough to meet these stringent requirements, it may still qualify you for disability benefits.  We will have to work to accurately define how often you have seizures and experience problems with physical functioning; understanding, remembering and applying information; interacting with others; concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace; or adapting or managing yourself.  Your specific limitations, including any caused by your medications or side-effects, must be taken into account and may be limiting enough to prevent work.

To help define your limitations, a seizure diary may be helpful.  This can be done by keeping a notebook where you write down the specifics of your seizures such a date, time started, time ended, effects (loss of consciousness, absence seizure, etc.), the cause of the seizure, and how long after the seizure it took you to return to normal functioning. 

If you have a epilepsy and need help with your Social Security Disability claim, give us a call immediately at 985-240-9773 to see how we can help you prepare the best case possible for you!

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Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Disability and Personal Injury Attorney