Epilepsy and Social Security Disability -Why You're Getting Denied
If you have epilepsy and you've attempted to receive Social Security disability, you may know by now it's really hard to receive benefits.
In fact, unless you're meeting Social Security Medical Listing 11.02 for your epilepsy, it's likely you've been denied numerous times -if you have continued to pursue your claim and just didn't give up.
Let's start with Medical Listing 11.02:
Basically, you've got to have grand mal/tonic-clonic seizures for at least once a month for 3 consecutive months even with medication, or have experienced dyscognitive seizures at least once every 2 weeks for at least 3 consecutive months and those have severely interrupted your ability to function physically, understand information, interact with others, concentrate or take care of oneself.
The biggest issue is attempting to meet a medical listing, is that most, if not all people, don't go to the hospital every time they have a seizure. In other words, most of the time medical documentation is missing to help meet the above medical listing.
If that's the case, then the Social Security Administration (SSA) then turns to determining how your seizures affect your ability to perform daily tasks and complete basic work activities. -This can be a very large hurdle to overcome to convince SSA your seizures are so severe you are unable to hold down a job.
If you just have epilepsy and no other impairments, here's some things that can help you win your case:
1. Make sure you are documenting the seizures. Not only by someone close to you witnessing them and keeping a log, but also going to the hospital and getting tested and medically documenting them. This is probably the most important thing you can do to win your case. You have to have medical documentation of the frequency of the seizures. Of course, it seems trivial to keep going to the doctor when he or she has told you there is nothing that can be done, but what you're doing is making a medical record of their frequency and intensity.
2. Explain to your doctor and have him or her document what kind of limitations these seizures have on your ability to concentrate, stay on task, complete tasks, take care of yourself or others, drive, clean the house, cook for yourself, etc. By documenting these limitations, these translate to your ability (or inability) to perform basic work activities out in the workforce. For example, if you've attempted to work and you're having seizures during the day, then this can show you're unable to stay on task and complete projects at work. This helps reduce what kind of work you can perform, if you can do any job at all.
3. Make sure your doctor has gone so far as to revoke your driving privileges. This shows that your seizures are too frequent to allow you to drive and you are a danger to yourself and others behind the wheel. SSA will look at this to see if you are still able to drive.
4. Get a letter from your past employer(s) stating you were terminated because of your seizure activity. Also, have them document what they witnessed when you had a seizure.
5. Keep getting medical treatment. I can't say this enough. It is extremely important you continue to get CT scans and update your medical records. Large gaps in medical treatment can sabotage your chances of being approved. You must have consistent medical evidence.
Epilepsy is a strange impairment when it comes to Social Security disability. On the surface, it seems almost a given that someone is unable to work if they are having seizures daily or a couple of times per week. People often urinate on themselves, lose consciousness for extended periods of time, take a very long time to recover, require multiple rest breaks throughout the day, etc. These are all things that certainly could keep someone from working.
However, SSA is very hard to convince when it comes to just having epilepsy. I've been before judges in the past that believed someone could have a seizure in the morning and again at night and still be able to go to work in between. Unbelievable as it may sound, this is more common than the exception. If you do file for Social Security disability and are alleging only epilepsy, then be prepared to get denied and have to appeal and keep appealing your case.
Last thing, be absolutely sure your impairment truly is epilepsy. There are many things that can cause a seizure. Even stress alone can cause consistent seizures. If your doctor is listing your seizure activity as something other than epilepsy, you're going to need to do something about this. Seizure activity, without some other kind of impairment, is not going to be enough to be successful on your Social Security disability case.
We represent claimants fighting for their Social Security disability rights throughout the United States. Always feel free to contact us at: (888) 780-9125.
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