Epilepsy is a very serious neurological disorder that affects thousands of Americans every year. It is currently the third most common neurological disease after stroke and Alzheimers. Epilepsy is characterized by repetitive severe seizures that are not always responsive to medication or treatment. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, over one million individuals currently experience disabling epilepsy seizures for which no treatment is available. If you were recently diagnosed with epilepsy or have been experiencing frequent severe seizures, you may be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our Social Security lawyers have helped many individuals throughout Massachusetts in deciding whether these benefits are right for them and filing a compelling application if they are.Applying for SSDI Based on Epilepsy
If your epilepsy condition is preventing you from holding a job or returning to the work force, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits on the basis of your disability. The most straightforward way to establish your eligibility is to meet the Social Security Administration’s official “Impairment Listing” for epilepsy, which sets forth certain physical requirements that automatically qualify an applicant for disability. There are two listings available for epilepsy patients: one for those who experience convulsive seizures (known as grand mal) and one for those with nonconvulsive seizures (known as petit mal or partial). People experiencing convulsive seizures must show that, despite being on medication for at least three months, they continue to experience at least one seizure a month. For those with nonconvulsive epilepsy, they must show that, despite medication, they continue to experience at least one seizure a week. In both cases, these seizures must interfere with normal daily activities.Establishing Disability Without Meeting an Impairment Listing
For many SSDI applicants, although the effects of their disease are traumatic and disabling, they may not meet the precise requirements set forth in the SSA’s Impairment Listing. For instance, an epilepsy patient experiencing petit mal seizures may have them only monthly, rather than every week. In this circumstance, applicants can elect to establish eligibility by proving that their symptoms so interfere with their daily lives that they are unable to work. This is known as establishing your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Under the RFC process, an applicant can provide extensive medical evidence documenting the impact of his or her disability on daily life, including keeping the applicant from holding a steady job. Generally, the more medical evidence that an applicant can provide, the better the likelihood that he or she will be found to have a limited RFC that renders the applicant disabled.
If you are considering an application for disability based on the effects of your epilepsy diagnosis, there are several types of documentation that can be helpful to supporting your claim for a reduced RFC. These include an official diagnosis of epilepsy from your treating physician, documentation of your incidents of seizure from witnesses who have seen or experienced them, official medical records regarding the frequency and severity of your seizures, and detailed information concerning the treatments you have received and how they have failed to improve your symptoms.Discuss Your Government Benefits Claim with a Massachusetts Lawyer
Applying for disability benefits can be challenging. Many claimants’ applications for benefits are denied at the initial stages for lack of adequate documentation to establish the impact of disability. While plenty of these applicants are ultimately successful on appeal after supplementing their applications, you may be able to reduce the time and energy you spend on the SSDI process by obtaining the advice of a Massachusetts lawyer who can help you to craft a compelling application for benefits. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our government benefits attorneys can help you compile the necessary documentation to file a claim for benefits in Massachusetts and identify the arguments that will best support your application. Our Boston office serves residents throughout the metropolitan area, including the Merrimack River and Suffolk and Essex Counties, as well as individuals in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. For more information, contact us at (800) 367-0871 or through our online form.