Convulsive Epilepsy and Social Security Disability

Convulsive epilepsy affects approximately one to two percent of the population. Individuals who live with the disorder suffer from uncontrolled seizures that can leave them helpless or even in danger. It goes without saying that many of the individuals who suffer from convulsive epilepsy are unable to maintain gainful work activity. With no way to earn an income and no medical insurance, these individuals can face severe financial crisis. Fortunately, in many cases, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income can help. If you would like to know how convulsive epilepsy qualifies an individual for Social Security Disability benefits and how the SSA reviews claims based on this medical condition, the following information will provide you with the insight you are looking for.

Convulsive Epilepsy Condition and Symptoms

Individuals who suffer from convulsive epilepsy suffer from convulsions that occur due to a sudden change in the electrical function of the cells in the brain. These convulsions, also referred to as seizures or “fits”, occur when the nerve cells in the brain send electrical messages at rates that are much higher than normal. This results in an electrical “surge” in the brain, which results in the convulsive symptoms a patient experiences.

When an individual suffers from these seizures on a repeated basis, the condition is referred to as convulsive epilepsy. There are many different types of convulsive epilepsy that an individual may suffer from. Some patients may experienced generalized fits that affect the entire body. These are called “grand mal” seizures. In other individuals, only a portion of the body is affected, such as an arm or a leg. These convulsive episodes are referred to as partial or “focal” seizures.

The frequency of seizures can vary. Some individuals can go months without suffering a convulsive episode while others may experience these attacks on a very frequent basis. The cause of the condition is usually unknown, although injury to the brain and certain infectious illnesses have been known to lead to the disorder.

While there is no cure for epilepsy, the condition can oftentimes be treated with prescription medications that can prevent the seizures or reduce the occurrence of the episodes. However, in some cases, individuals who are suffering from convulsive epilepsy will not respond to treatment. In these cases, an application for Social Security Disability benefits is in order.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Convulsive Epilepsy

Individuals who suffer from severe, uncontrolled convulsive epilepsy are unable to maintain the responsibilities of gainful employment. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has recognized this fact and has included the condition in its Blue Book of Medical Listings.

Convulsive epilepsy is listed in Section 11.02 of the SSA's published Medical Listings. According to this section of the Blue Book, an individual must suffer from convulsive epilepsy that has been documented by a detailed description of typical seizure patterns. This documentation must include all associated phenomena and the episodes must occur more frequently than once a month (in spite of at least three months of prescribed treatment). The individual must also suffer from daytime episodes resulting in a loss of consciousness, convulsive seizures, or nocturnal episodes that manifest with residual affects, intefering with the applicant's daytime activities.

If your case of convulsive epilepsy meets the above-published criteria, you will likely qualify for Social Security Disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process. You will, however, have to provide the Social Security Administration with medical evidence documenting these facts along with your application for Social Security Disability benefits. A complete copy of your medical records and treatment history will be needed in order for the SSA to approve your Social Security Disability claim.

If your specific case of convulsive epilepsy does not fall under the above guidelines, but still prevents you from performing gainful work activity, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits if you can prove the severity of your condition. If this is the case, it will be crucial to your claim that you fill out the disability application forms in accurate detail, clearly explaining how the disability affects your day-to-day living, and prevents you from performing any type of work activity.

Convulsive Epilepsy and Your Social Security Disability Case

If your case of convulsive epilepsy meets the Blue Book criteria and you have enough medical evidence to document this fact, you will likely be approved for disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process. If, however, you do not have enough medical evidence to prove that you meet the SSA's published guidelines or if your case does not fall under the guidelines that have been set forth by the SSA, you will likely be denied Social Security Disability benefits at the initial application stage.

If your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, do not give up hope. Nearly 70 percent of initial applications are rejected by the Social Security Administration, resulting in the need for a disability appeal. If this happens, it will be in your best interests to consult with a Social Security Disability advocate or attorney. These professionals can help you obtain the evidence you need to support your disability case and will represent you at your disability hearing before an administrative law judge. Nearly two-thirds of disability applicants are awarded Social Security Disability benefits as the result of such a hearing.

To learn more about filing for SSD benefits with convulsive epilepsy or to learn more about working with a Social Security Disability lawyer, simply fill out the form for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.