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. The lack of an income due to this inability to work can result in serious financial devastation. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits are often able to alleviate some of the financial stress. If you suffer from Seizure Disorder and are wondering whether or not you might qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the following information can help you understand the disability application process and how the SSA views Seizure Disorder in terms of disability.
Seizure Disorder - Condition and Symptoms
In order for the brain to function properly, electrical impulses within the brain must be sequenced in an organized and coordinated manner. These electrical impulses allow the brain to send messages to the body's nerves, muscles and spinal cord. When a person suffers from a Seizure Disorder, the brains electrical impulses are disturbed, resulting in temporary brain dysfunction.
There are two common types of seizures including epileptic seizures and non-epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures occur repeatedly and have no apparent trigger. When a person suffers from epileptic seizures it is referred to as Seizure Disorder. Non-epileptic seizures are triggered by an underlying condition, such as a fever or injury. These seizures are normally non-recurring and do not result in Seizure Disorder. Seizure Disorder can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, birth defects, injury, medications, infections, low oxygen levels and low blood sugar.
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.
After a person has had a seizure they may experience a number of side effects including nausea, thirst, pain, headache and/or weakness. The seizures experienced by people who suffer from Seizure Disorder do not usually cause long-term damage. In some cases, however, severe seizures may cause brain damage and other complications.
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.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Seizure Disorder
When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the examiner reviewing your case refers to Social Security's “Blue Book” of qualifying disabilities. This listing of impairments includes a listing for Seizure Disorder under section 111.0. It is important to note that while this section of the Blue Book refers to Seizure Disorder in children, this does not mean that you will not be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits when applying as an adult.
When applying for Social Security Disability benefits based on a Seizure Disorder condition, you will need to prove to the SSA that your seizures are frequent enough and severe enough to prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity. This can be done by providing medical records documenting the dates of your seizures as well as any required medical treatment. Statements provided by your treating physicians may also assist you in your claim.
Seizure Disorder and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you are suffering from Seizure Disorder it may be difficult to obtain Social Security Disability benefits at the initial stage of the application process. If enough medical evidence isn't provided with your initial claim to prove the extent of your disabling condition, you will likely need to file an appeal in order to receive the disability benefits you are entitled to.
If you are filing and initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits or have already been denied, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney. Your attorney can assist you in obtaining the disability benefits you need. In fact, statistics show that applicants who have legal representation during any stage of the Social Security Disability claim process are more likely to be approved for benefits than those who do not have legal representation.
If you have been denied benefits and have not yet contacted a Social Security Disability attorney, do so as soon as possible. Remember, you only have 60 days to appeal the SSA's decision to deny your benefits and re-applying for benefits will only result in further delays.