For some people who have been diagnosed with a seizure disorder, such as epilepsy, their lives may be negatively affected in a significant way. The symptoms someone with epilepsy experiences can range from staring spells to intense convulsions and loss of consciousness. So for those whose lives are dramatically affected by their seizure disorders may wonder, “can you get disability for seizures?” 

What is a Seizure Disorder?

Seizures occur due to uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Normal brain function requires an orderly, coordinated discharge of electrical impulses. Those who have seizures experience disturbances in this electrical activity which causes temporary brain dysfunction. When these unexpected disturbances occur in the brain, a person may experience unconsciousness, uncontrollable movements, or may stop moving all together. Sometimes seizures can be triggered by lack of sleep, stress, low blood sugar, flashing lights, or repetitive sounds. Sometimes a seizure will occur with no obvious trigger present. Those who experience recurring seizures may be diagnosed with what is called a seizure disorder. 

Do Seizures Qualify for Disability?

The Social Security Administration maintains a manual called the Blue Book, which lists all qualifying disabilities. Both convulsive and non-convulsive epilepsy are included. The main qualifying factor is that the epilepsy is severe and cannot be controlled by medications, as proven by your medical records and after strictly following your doctor’s treatment recommendations and still having seizures. 

Convulsive Seizure Qualifications

According to the SSA, those with convulsive seizures must meet these criteria:

  • Nighttime seizures that cause severe complications for you during the day, such as thinking clearly, staying awake, or coordinating your physical movements. 

OR

  • Daytime seizures that result in convulsions or loss of consciousness 
  • To qualify, a person must also continue to have seizures a minimum of once per month after being on anti-seizure medication for at least three months. 

Non-Convulsive Seizure Qualifications

According to the SSA, those with non-convulsive seizures qualify for disability if they meet the following criteria:

  • Seizures occur during the day or night. 

AND

  • The seizures cause pronounced issues after the seizure, such as trouble thinking, difficulty staying awake, lack of energy, unusual behavior, or other symptoms that interrupt daytime activities.
  • A qualifying person will meet both of the above requirements and continue to have seizures a minimum of once per week after being on anti-seizure medication consistently for at least three months. 

Apply to Get Disability for Seizures

If you experience seizures and meet the above qualifications, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits. Living with a seizure disorder that negatively impacts your life can make it difficult to work and earn money to support yourself and your family. Suppose you have epilepsy but don’t quite meet the SSA Blue Book qualifications, but you are still unable to work due to your condition. In that case, you may still be able to qualify by going through a RFC, or residual functional capacity analysis. An RFC requires you to fill out “functional reports” with your doctor. Friends, family, or caregivers may also be asked to fill out a report to help the SSA understand your illness and how it affects your everyday life. 

Get Assistance Applying for Disability Benefits

If you live with a seizure disorder and your life is significantly impacted because of it, you may qualify for disability benefits. Reach out to the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill to speak with one of our experienced disability attorneys and get a free evaluation.

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