Does Epilepsy Qualify for Disability Benefits?

If you live in Michigan and epilepsy has made it impossible to work, you may be eligible to receive social security disability benefits. There are different programs available, and which one you are eligible for depends on your specific situation.

Epilepsy can be extremely debilitating, and John Hopkins Medicine discusses what exactly it is and some common symptoms. Epilepsy is a condition involving the brain and nervous system. It is diagnosed when someone has had two or more seizures, which can occur due to a variety of reasons. Some symptoms, or warning signs, of seizure include:

  • Body stiffening
  • Jerking movements
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Falling for no reason
  • Issues with breathing
  • Confused state
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Seizures are not only scary but they can also put the patient in a dangerous situation. Between mental stress, the inability to drive and incapacitating symptoms, being productive at work can be extremely challenging. The Epilepsy Foundation discusses how one can get government assistance when epilepsy makes it impossible to hold a paying job. There are two social security programs available: SSDI for those who have worked for years and have contributed adequate FICA tax, and SSI for those whose income is extremely low.

To qualify for either program, your disability must last for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration will consider a number of factors such as:

  • Your ability to perform functions related to work
  • Type and frequency of seizures
  • Your mental and physical functional capacities
  • Your vocational factors
  • Medical exams and doctors’ observational reports 
  • Side effects from anti-seizure medication

You must be under treatment for epilepsy and compliant with all medication recommendations to be eligible for disability benefits. A disability can be determined by one or a combination of the previous factors.