Seizure disorder, more commonly called epilepsy, is a condition that causes episodes of excessive, abnormal activity of neurons in the brain. As the name implies, the most notable symptom is seizures. Although there is no known cure for seizure disorder, it is often well controlled with medication or surgery.
If your medication does not sufficiently control your seizure disorder, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, as uncontrolled seizures can have a serious impact on your ability to perform safely on the job. There are more than 40 distinct types of seizure disorder, some of which are considerably more debilitating than others. Additionally, all forms of seizure disorder may be present in varying degrees of severity and may respond differently to medication.
If you have seizure disorder, you should be under a doctor’s care. Besides the obvious reason of trying to eliminate or reduce the negative impact of seizures on your life through appropriate medication, you will need thorough documentation of what treatments have been attempted and your response to them if you are to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Generally speaking, the Social Security Administration considers the frequency, type, and severity of your seizures in determining whether you are qualified for Social Security Disability benefits. You will need to have thorough documentation over a period of no less than three months of your seizures and other symptoms related to your seizure disorder. Even if your doctor doesn’t suggest it, keep a journal of all seizures. You will need to reference this when you make your Social Security Disability claim.
Seizure Disorder and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work
Seizures vary widely in type and severity. Some milder forms of seizure may not cause a serious problem for you performing physical work if they are infrequent and generally well controlled. Other forms of seizure, especially those that render you unconscious, could be extremely dangerous in work environments requiring physical labor.
While seizure disorder does not generally directly affect your ability to stand, walk, lift, push, pull, bend, etc., it may very well make these activities unsafe in a work environment where a seizure at an inopportune moment could create a serious hazard for you or your coworkers. Make sure that any restrictions your doctor has prescribed to your physical and work activities are clearly spelled out on your Social Security Disability claim.
Seizure Disorder and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work
While sedentary work is often safer for those with seizure disorder than physical work, it isn’t always possible for someone who suffers from seizures to continue working in any environment. Sedentary jobs often involve stressful situations that may trigger seizures in some people with seizure disorder.
Make sure in keeping track of your seizures that you note the situation which preceded it, including whether any stress or other mental or environmental factors may have been involved. If you have trouble concentrating on activities the next day due to seizures which occur at night, make sure to notate this as well. Always make sure your doctor’s reports corroborate your statements on your Social Security Disability claim.
Usually, Social Security Disability cases involving seizure disorders are fairly clear cut. Either you have seizures frequently enough to merit Social Security Disability benefits, or you don’t. However, there are cases where there is some grey area, or in which you should be approved but aren’t because of the way something is phrased on your Social Security Disability claim.
Many Social Security Disability claims that are initially denied can be won during the appeals process. You will want to strongly consider contracting a Social Security Disability lawyer to help you with the appeals process, as your chance of success with a Social Security Disability claim improves markedly if you have experienced representation.