Epilepsy is a common neurological disease, where seizures are caused by disturbed nerve cell activity. The constant seizures and treatment plans can be stressful, both physically and financially. Applying for Social Security disability benefits can help with the costs and allow you to stay home and focus on what’s important.
You need to detail the type, frequency, duration, and sequelae of seizures, and include a description of a typical seizure with the presence or absence of aura, tongue bites, sphincter control, injuries associated with the attack, and postictal phenomena. The health professional should state how much evidence is from his observations. You need longitudinal evidence proving that the seizures continue despite prescribed antiepileptic treatment. They will also need drug reports, because they may not approve you if they believe your epilepsy is due to drug or alcohol consumption.
An EEG records the electric signals of the brain by electrodes places on the patient’s scalp. The test is taken lying down, and can be done awake or asleep. EEGs produce a recording of brain waves that the doctor can check for abnormalities.
A number of blood tests can be used in diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. A complete blood count (CBC) counts the types of blood cells and can determine infections, allergies, and other abnormalities. A chemistry panel tests the mineral levels in blood, specifically sodium, potassium, and glucose. Often a complete metabolic panel is done, which also includes blood testing of the liver and kidneys. This checks chemical imbalances, organ damage, diabetes and other conditions that can help doctors find the probable cause of your seizures.
A small amount of radioactive material is injected in a vein to interact with the elections in your body. The PET scanner detects these reactions and creates a picture detailing the body’s use of oxygen and glucose. It can identify the spot in the brain that is causing the epilepsy.
Also called a lumbar puncture, a spinal tap is used to diagnose disorders of the central nervous system. A needle is inserted in the lumbar area of the back to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and tested for blood counts, mineral levels and more.
Proving You Can’t Work
Since many cases of epilepsy are well-controlled, you need to prove that it’s consistently interfering with your daily life. The medical evidence needs to prove you can’t even do sedentary work. Here are a few examples that would restrict you from sedentary work.
- Inability to lift ten pounds
- Inability to stand or walk for two hours a day
- Inability to sit for six or eight hours a day
- The need to take constant sick days
- The need to rest or lie down frequently during the day
- The need to alternate between sitting and standing
- Inability to work in noisy environments
A doctor’s observations are most important, but in absence or in addition, you can include reports for coworkers, family members, and others who interact with you on a regular basis. Make sure to include examples and descriptions when answering questions on the application as well.
Hiring a Disability Lawyer
Even if you do not have one of the listed conditions in the SSA’s Blue Book, you can still be approved if your heart condition equals another listing. Disability lawyers can not only help get your claim approved quickly so you can start receiving benefits faster, but they can save you the stress of the application and appeal process as well. They can help with:
- Collecting all relevant and necessary medical evidence
- Preparing and checking the application
- Interpreting feedback and other communications from the Social Security Administration
- Relieving stress