The Disability Expert

A Free Guide to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Disability Benefits


 

 


 

Seizures and Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability Benefits

By R. M. Bottger 

Seizures certainly seem disabling to the seizure patient, but the Social Security Administration denies many disability claims for seizures. The frequency of the seizures and failure to follow prescribed treatment are the two main reasons SSA denies disability claims for seizures.

For major motor seizures (grand mal or psychomotor seizures), the Social Security Administration will want copies of your EEG documenting your seizures. SSA will need copies of all your medical records including a description of the seizures and the frequency of the seizures from a medical source. (See What Medical Records Should You Submit When You Apply for Disability Benefits?)  SSA will probably want a description of your seizures from a family member or friend who has witnessed your seizures. The seizures must occur at least once per month despite at least three months of prescribed treatment. Seizures must consist of daytime episodes that consist of loss of consciousness or convulsive seizures or nocturnal episodes that manifest residuals that interfere significantly with activity during the day. Seizures that occur only during the night are rarely found to be disabling because they usually don’t interfere with daytime activities severely enough to prevent all types of work.

For minor motor seizures (petit mal, psychomotor, or focal), SSA will want a copy of your EEG documenting your seizures. SSA will need copies of all your medical records including a description of the seizures and the frequency of the seizures from a medical source. SSA will probably want a description of your seizures from a family member or friend who has witnessed your seizures. Seizures must occur more that once per week despite at least three months of prescribed treatment. Seizures must consist of an alteration of awareness or loss of consciousness and transient postictal manifestations of unconventional behavior or significant interference with activity during the day.

One reason that disability claims for seizures are denied is the frequency of the seizures. The first two paragraphs of this article specify how frequently seizures must occur to be found disabling. Sufferers of grand mal seizures often have trouble really understanding this frequency rule. For example, someone who is having grand mal seizures five or six time per year will be found to be not disabled. The person, however, feels disabled. He or she cannot drive a car or operate dangerous machinery. He or she cannot be around unprotected heights. He cannot drive to work. He or she cannot do jobs such a construction worker or bus driver. The seizures do limit what the person can do. However, the seizures do not prevent the person from doing some types of work such as office work.

The other reason that seizure claims are frequently denied is failure to follow prescribed treatment. When a seizure patient applies for disability benefits, SSA looks at his or her medical records to find copies of blood work that shows the level of his or her seizure medication in the blood. If blood work has not been done, SSA schedules the blood work and pays to have it done. If the lab work shows that the patient has not been taking his or her medication as prescribed, SSA denies the claim on the basis that if the patient would take his or her medication as prescribed, then the seizures would be expected to improve enough for the patient to return to some type of work in less than twelve months. A typical denial notice in this case would state: “With regular treatment and medication, your seizures are not expected to prevent you from doing all types of work for twelve months in a row.” If you have seizures, make sure that you take your medication as prescribed.

           

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 

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