Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes you to have seizures. If your condition is severe enough to disrupt your life and keep you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration describes the criteria it uses to determine whether epilepsy qualifies for SSD. However, because the terminology it uses is somewhat out-of-date, it can be difficult for you to ascertain whether you meet the criteria. Here is a guide to help you decipher the terminology that the SSA uses.
If you experience generalized tonic-clonic seizures at least once a month for three months, or at least once every two months with other limitations, you may qualify for SSD benefits. “Generalized” means that the seizure involves both sides of your brain at the same time. “Tonic-clonic” refers to motor symptoms resulting from the seizure. “Tonic” means that the seizure causes your muscles to become rigid, while “clonic” means that it causes uncontrollable rhythmic jerking movements of your body. Not all generalized seizures cause motor symptoms such as these.
You may also qualify for SSD benefits if you experience dyscognitive seizures at least once per week. According to Healthline, doctors and researchers now refer to this type of seizure as a focal onset impaired awareness seizure. “Focal” means that it only involves one side of your brain, while impaired awareness means that it affects your level of consciousness. You may lose consciousness completely, or you may remain conscious but lose awareness of your surroundings.
Your doctor can determine whether your epilepsy symptoms qualify you for SSD benefits and help submit the necessary documentation. Do not give up if you receive a rejection of your initial application; it is actually rare for the SSA to approve an application on the first try.