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Is epilepsy a qualifying disease for disability benefits?

Epilepsy afflicts many people in Missouri. The seizures that typify the disease can interfere with work and with the daily tasks of living. Most people familiar with the disease understand that it has varying degrees of intensity, and the Social Security Administration takes these differences into account in defining the level of disability that qualifies for Social Security disability benefits.

In evaluating SSD claims for benefits based on epilepsy, the SSA looks at the type, duration and frequency of seizures. The applicant must furnish at least one detailed description of a seizure, including the presence or absence of an aura, tongue biting, sphincter control, injuries suffered in the attack and post-seizure symptoms such as drowsiness, confusion, nausea and headaches. The treating physician should submit a statement describing the extent to which the applicant's subjective description of symptoms is consistent with his or her own observations. A very important condition of eligibility for benefits requires that the applicant follow prescribed epileptic treatment. Blood tests are often used to determine the level of anti-epileptic medication in the applicant's blood stream.

Episodes must be observed to have occurred more frequently than one per month during at least three months of prescribed treatment. The episodes can be either daytime, involving loss of consciousness and convulsions, or in the evening with effects that interfere with daytime activity.

An application for disability benefits based on epilepsy can be difficult to prove. Therefore, applicants may want to enlist the help of an attorney when completing and submitting their applications for benefits. An attorney can guide an applicant throughout the application process, including during the appeals process if necessary.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, 11.00 Neurological - Adult," accessed on June 20, 2016

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