Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that with more than 200,000 cases per year in the U.S. Many people with epilepsy can have very mild or infrequent symptoms, and medication could be enough to allow them to go about their day without serious interruptions. But many with epilepsy – especially those who developed the condition after a serious brain injury – cannot work to support themselves because of how severe their epilepsy is. Because of this, epilepsy is one of the listed disabilities that you can seek disability benefits for in Arkansas. Fayetteville, AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak explains how you can claim Social Security Disability benefits for epilepsy and what you need to do to qualify.
Can You File for Disability Because of Epilepsy in Arkansas?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a list of disabilities that qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits – the two main types of disability that people file for. This means that millions of people across the U.S. could potentially qualify for benefits because of their epilepsy, but there are additional factors to look at to see if you can file.
First, to file for SSDI, you need to have worked in the U.S. for a while and paid your Social Security taxes. These taxes fund the SSA generally and disability programs specifically, and disabled Americans can only claim SSDI if they have a work record. Alternatively, many adult children and spouses can claim SSDI through their parent’s record or their spouse’s record if they do not have their own work history.
SSDI often provides better coverage, so our attorneys will investigate your case to see if you have the proper work credits – or if someone in your family does – to allow you to file for SSDI. Otherwise, SSI is a need-based disability program that many people with epilepsy would also qualify for.
Is Epilepsy Covered by SSDI in Arkansas?
Epilepsy is one of the neurological disorders that the SSA has on its listing of disabilities. This list encompasses all disabilities that the SSA recognizes and typically pays disability benefits for. Many people with rare disabilities or other severe disorders that are not listed can file for exceptions so that their condition can still be covered, but disabled Arkansans with epilepsy do not need to worry about this; their disorder is covered.
One of the biggest hurdles for people with epilepsy filing for disability benefits in Arkansas is that the SSA’s definition of “epilepsy” often has a higher bar than the definition a doctor would use in diagnosing epilepsy. This is because not everyone with epilepsy will automatically qualify for disability benefits; your condition must be severe enough to interfere with your ability to work and support yourself to qualify. People with mild cases of epilepsy or infrequent symptoms that do not interfere with their work might not qualify.
Social Security Disability’s Definition of Epilepsy for Arkansans
Under the SSA’s listing of disabilities, epilepsy, first of all, requires documented seizures. This could mean that you need to see a doctor about your seizures or even undergo a study or monitoring before the doctor can confirm you have had a seizure. This could be part of your medical diagnosis, but if it is not, you might need additional testing to show the SSA you do indeed have epilepsy.
In addition to having a documented seizure, you must be able to show that you meet certain levels of frequency with your seizures. If you have generalized tonic-clonic seizures, you will usually meet the SSA’s definition if you have at least one per month for at least three months in a row. If you have dyscognitive seizures, you will meet the definition if you have at least one per week for at least three months in a row. These seizures must also come despite the fact that you are following your doctor’s prescribed treatments. Missed treatments or skipping your meds might make it harder to prove your condition meets the SSA’s standards.
Alternatively, if your seizures are more spaced out, you can meet the SSA’s strict definition by proving other symptoms. If your generalized tonic-clonic seizures occur once every other month for at least four months – or if your dyscognitive seizures occur once every other week for at least three months – then you can still get coverage if you have a “marked limitation” in at least one of these factors:
- Movement/body functions
- Mental functions
- Interactions with other people
- Concentration or pacing
- Adapting to changes or managing yourself.
Talk to a Sebastian County social security disability lawyer about whether your diagnosed symptoms meet these standards. In many cases, you will need a doctor to fill out paperwork explaining your symptoms, which can help ensure that the SSA has all the info they need to agree that your condition meets their definition of epilepsy.
Is My Epilepsy Severe Enough for Disability Benefits?
One other factor that the SSA looks at is whether a disability is “severe.” The Social Security Administration does not pay disability benefits to everyone who meets their medical definitions. Instead, the applicant must prove that their disability is severe enough to prevent them from working and supporting themselves financially.
For many people with disabilities, working is too physically or mentally challenging. If your epilepsy is severe enough that you can’t work, you can often qualify for disability with your condition. Your doctor can help provide you with clinical evidence of your disability, and your lawyer can help you fill out the proper forms and paperwork with the SSA that help show your disability is truly severe.
Call Our Disability Lawyers for Help Getting SSDI Benefits for Epilepsy in Arkansas
If you have epilepsy and are unable to work, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law. Ken Kieklak is an Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyer with decades of experience helping disabled Arkansans get benefits for their disabilities and appeal rejected applications. For a free case consultation with our Arkansas disability hearings attorney, call us today at (479) 316-0438.