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Seizures and Social Security Disability

I have many clients asking me if they qualify for social security disability if they have a seizure condition.  The first question I ask them is what type of seizures do you have?  Here are some of the different types of seizures: Grand Mal Seizures:  They feature a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions.   There are 2 stages.   In the first stage, the tonic stage, you lose consciousness.   In the second stage, the clonic phase, you have muscle contractions.  You may also have the following symptoms:
  • Screaming
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Unresponsiveness after contractions
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Severe headache
  If you have grand mal seizures you will be prescribed medication to help prevent future seizures.  For some people the medication works great and they never have another seizure.  For others, though the seizures aren’t controlled by medication. Petit Mal Seizures: These are also called absence seizures.  They involve a brief sudden loss of consciousness.  They generally only last 10 to 15 seconds and then the person has a full recovery.  Some people may have dozens of these per day which can interfere with their daily activities. Epilepsy: Then what is Epilepsy?  It is a neurological disorder that causes a person to have recurring seizures.  You have to have at least 2 seizures in order to get an epilepsy diagnosis.  Treatment involves medications and/or surgery. So how do you know if you qualify for social security disability?  It depends on how often you get the seizures and how disabling they are.   You may meet a listing.  You can find the listing for seizures here.  If you don’t meet a listing then you have to show that the seizures prevent you from working a full-time job depending upon your age, education, past work experience and the severity of your condition.   I have claimants whom only have a seizure once every six months with no other limitations.  Usually that alone would not qualify a person for social security disability.  However, if you have weekly seizures then that may your limit your ability to work a full-time 40 hour per week job. It also depends on the type of seizures you have.  Grand mal seizures cause numerous symptoms which may interfere with work while petite mal seizures may cause fewer symptoms since they are usually very brief.  It also depends on if your medication prevents the seizures.  If you have no seizures while on medication then you have fewer limitations to your ability to work.  Such limitations would be climbing ladders, for example.  However, there are many jobs that do not require a person to climb a ladder.  As you can see there are many variables to consider if a person qualifies for social security disability for a seizure disorder. Please remember that this is just general information, and everyone’s situation is unique. This article should not be considered legal advice.

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