If you suffer from epilepsy and wish to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must be able to prove that you meet the criteria of the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Blue Book listing for the condition.
The Blue Book is a guideline created by the SSA for disability adjudicators to follow when approving or denying disability claims.
A copy of the Blue book can be found here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook
If you can prove through medical documentation that you meet the criteria of a listing, it will increase your chances of receiving an approval of benefits during the initial stage of the application process.
In the case of epilepsy, your condition will fall under Section 11.02 or 11.03 of the Blue Book depending on which form of epilepsy you suffer from.
Section 11.02 addresses convulsive epilepsy while Section 11.03 addresses non-convulsive epilepsy.
Section 11.02 – Convulsive Epilepsy
In order to qualify under section 11.02 of the Blue Book, you must be able to prove that you suffer from a typical seizure pattern including all of the associated phenomena. The seizures must occur more frequently than once a month in spite of at least three months of prescribed treatment.
Section 11.03 – Nonconvulsive Epilepsy
In order to qualify under Section 11.03 of the Blue Book, you must prove that you suffer from petit mal, psychomotor or focal seizures that are documented by a typical seizure pattern.
These seizures must occur more than once per week despite three months of prescribed treatment.
You must also be able to prove that there are alterations of awareness or loss of consciousness and unconventional behaviour along with significant interference of activity during the day.
SSI and SSDI
Once the SSA has deemed you disabled, you must meet other criteria in order to qualify for one of the two available disability programs.
The two available disability programs include SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).
Under the SSDI program, you must have earned enough work credits in order to qualify for benefits.
As a general rule, you must have worked for at least half of the time you have been able to work.
For example, if you are 24 years old, you should have been able to work for six years (between the ages of 18 and 24) and must have worked three of those six years in order to qualify.
If you have been able to work more than ten years, you must have worked five of the past ten years in order to qualify for SSDI benefits.
If you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, you may be able to qualify for SSI benefits.
SSI is a needs-based program.
In order to qualify, your income cannot exceed $710 per month as an individual or $1,066 per month as a couple.
Your assets must also not exceed $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple.
How to Apply for Disability Benefits
To apply for disability benefits you can visit your local Social Security office or apply online at the SSA’s website (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/disability.htm).
When filling out the application paperwork, make sure you are as detailed as possible with your answers.
These answers will help the SSA determine whether or not you meet the disability requirements.
Also make sure you provide medical evidence proving the above-mentioned disability criteria.
Written statements from treating physicians will also weigh heavily on the outcome of your disability claim.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
For more information on applying for disability benefits with epilepsy, please visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/epilepsy-and-social-security-disability
Other articles of interest:
Secrets to Winning Your Social Security Claim http://epilepsytalk.com/2011/08/11/secrets-to-winning-your-social-security-claim/
A Little-Known Benefit for Aging Veterans http://epilepsytalk.com/2013/05/21/a-little-known-benefit-for-aging-veterans/
To subscribe to Epilepsy Talk and get the latest articles by email, simply go to the bottom box of the right column and click on “Sign me up!”
About the author
Phylis Feiner Johnson has been a professional copywriter for 30 years. She also spent 20 years with epilepsy. She writes from the heart to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. For further information, contact The Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania at http://www.efepa.org/ and please make a contribution to become an advocate, too.