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Criteria for SSD claims involving epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by unpredictable seizures of varying intensity levels. This disorder is incurable, and medications cannot always effectively control the seizures. Consequently, victims often face significant risks during daily activities, such as driving or performing certain jobs. As Chicago disability lawyers could confirm, individuals with especially severe cases may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

Evaluating epilepsy

The Social Security Administration automatically considers convulsive epilepsy disabling if it meets criteria outlined in the “Blue Book.” SSD applicants must document monthly daytime seizures that cause unconsciousness or convulsions. Alternately, applicants can document monthly nighttime seizures that interfere with daytime activity by causing fatigue or other extended effects. These seizures must persist despite three months of treatment.

Non-convulsive epilepsy may also automatically be classified as disabling if it meets Blue Book criteria. Applicants must suffer from weekly seizures even after three months of approved treatment. These seizures must cause disorientation or loss of consciousness. Additionally, these seizures must interfere with daily activities or produce abnormal lingering behaviors.

Epilepsy may qualify as disabling even if it doesn’t meet these criteria, as any Chicago disability lawyers can attest. The SSA may consider epilepsy disabling if it prevents a person from working gainfully. To decide whether this is the case, the SSA evaluates the individual’s symptoms and limitations. The SSA also reviews the person’s education, vocational skills and work history. This helps the SSA determine what kind of work, if any, the applicant can perform.

Necessary evidence

People seeking SSD benefits for epilepsy must provide specific documentation to support their claims. To prove epilepsy meets Blue Book requirements or prevents employment, applicants must submit the following medical evidence:

  • A diagnosis and supporting evidence. This includes EEG results and records of past seizures.
  • A description of a typical seizure. The description should include all symptoms that manifest during the seizure.
  • Supporting third-party statements. A witness should provide a description of a seizure. A treating physician should also give a statement about the nature and frequency of the seizures.
  • Proof of medication use. As Chicago disability lawyers understand, the SSA requires evidence that epilepsy cannot be controlled through treatment. Blood tests showing medication levels can demonstrate appropriate medication use.

If medication use isn’t feasible due to financial constraints or side effects, applicants should document those factors.

People who cannot meet Blue Book terms should also provide information about their vocational backgrounds. Specifically, applicants should describe the physical and mental requirements of all recently held jobs. This information can help the SSA understand why epilepsy prevents a person from performing those jobs. Accounts of education and work skills, similarly, can illustrate why an applicant cannot pursue other work.