Over the years, quite a few of our Social Security disability clients have had epilepsy as a component of their disabilities.
Epilepsy is a common disorder of the neurologic function of the brain. It is primarily characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million people suffer from Epilepsy worldwide. Epilepsy can often be controlled with medication but occasionally surgery is needed. Epilepsy can be considered disabling by the Social Security Administration but it is usually presented as a secondary cause for disability.
Social Security covers Epilepsy under Listing 11.02 Epilepsy Grand Mal and Listing 11.03 for Epilepsy Petit Mal. Epilepsy Grand Mal is characterized by either daytime episodes that result in loss of consciousness, or nighttime episodes that are severe enough to interfere with daytime work functions. Epilepsy Petit Mal is characterized by alternating consciousness and manifestations of bizarre behavior which interferes with daytime work activities on a weekly basis.
In order to prevail against Social Security on a claim based entirely on Epileptic Seizures, the claimant needs to establish that 1) he or she continues to have seizures despite following at least 3 months of prescribed treatment, and 2) the seizures can be confirmed through an EEG (electroencephalogram). Unfortunately about 10% of people suffering from a seizure disorder have negative EEGs.
If people think they are having Epileptic Seizures and cannot work, they should start getting medical care immediately. They should ask their doctors to perform EEG tests. They should make sure they are complying with the doctor’s instructions and make sure they are not using any illegal drugs or drinking alcohol, as this can interfere with the anti-seizure medication. Finally, if the seizures continue to persist, please give us a call and we will provide a free evaluation of your case and advice on what steps to take next.