The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t always make it easy for those with epilepsy to get the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits they deserve. SSA evaluates epilepsy based on the type of epilepsy, frequency, duration and nature of the seizures. Many claims are denied because SSA says:
(1) Your epilepsy won’t prevent you from working at least 12 months,
(2) Your epilepsy isn’t severe,
(3) Your epilepsy is uncontrolled because you haven’t followed your physician’s prescribed treatment,
(4) Your epilepsy or its complications don’t meet the requirements of, or is the equivalent of, a Medical Listing,
(5) You can return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled, or
(6) There is other work you can do in the mythical national economy based on your age, education, transferable skills and your residual functional capacity.
Not all cases of epilepsy are severe enough to make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but Nancy Cavey has successfully represented many SSA applicants with epilepsy.
Well controlled epilepsy is not necessarily disabling; you have to prove that your epilepsy interferes with your daily activities even though you have taken your medication.
Ms. Cavey works to overcome the claims denial by working closely with you and your physician by showing that you:
She offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your Social Security disability claim.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures that occur when nerve cells or neurons in your brain send out the wrong signals. There is no known cause of epilepsy, though seizures can be triggered by brain injury, brain tumor, stroke and abuse of drugs or alcohol..
Epileptic seizures can range from brief to long periods of shaking. Seizures are controlled by medication in about 70% of cases. It is not uncommon for disability carriers to deny payment of benefits on the basis that the seizure disorder is well controlled or that the seizures don’t occur often enough to be disabling. Carriers even will ignore the cognitive complications caused by seizures.
60% of seizures are convulsive, which include generalized, partial and non-convulsive seizures. It is not uncommon for epilepsy also to result in depression, anxiety disorder and migraines.
The common symptoms include:
More often than not, the complications of epilepsy can be key to winning your claim. These complications can include injuries caused during seizure, brain injury and even psychological problems.
SSA will review your medical records and look for the following:
There is a listing for convulsive epilepsy in Listing 11.02 and for non-convulsive epilepsy in Listing 11.03 of the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments.” If your complications from Epilepsy fall under or are equal to a listing, you might be approved for benefits at Step 3 of the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation.
Listing 11.02 requires that you show the following:
Listing 11.03 requires that you show the following:
Your medical records must establish that you meet every element of the Listing considered disabling.
If you have Epilepsy and another medical impairment, SSA is required to consider the combined effects of your impairments when determining if your condition is equal to a listing or when doing your RFC analysis at Steps 4 and 5.
If you don’t meet or equal a listing, then SSA will determine your entitlement to benefits based on medical and vocational criteria at Steps 4 and 5. Because the listing requirements are difficult to meet, SSA finds that most disability applicants don’t meet a Listing.
If your epilepsy and its complication don’t meet a listing, you will have to prove that you:
SSA or, ultimately an Administrative Law Judge, will answer those questions by determining your residual functional capacity. Your RFC is what you can do despite your epilepsy.
The SSA will review your medical records at the Initial Application and Reconsideration stage of the claims process and determine your functional capacity to perform sedentary, light, medium and heavy work.
SSA medical consultants often opine that a Social Security Disability applicant can do light and sedentary work, and that will result in a claims denial. The lower your RFC the more likely that you can’t return to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years or perform other work. SSA doesn’t tell applicants or physicians about the existence and importance of properly completed RFC forms that explain:
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the questions on an epilepsy or other applicable RFC forms. But you can see that having an explanation of what you can do physically, cognitively and emotionally is key to winning your case.
Many SSA cases are lost because the applicant did not obtain an RFC or the right RFC form. Their treating physician may not have completed the RFC form properly. That is one of the many reasons you should have an experienced Social Security attorney like Nancy L. Cavey represent you in your claim.
Many claims for epilepsy are denied both at the Initial Application and Request For Reconsideration stages of the claims process.
At the hearing stage, the Administrative Law Judge will determine your RFC and give hypotheticals to the vocational evaluator (VE) who will testify at your hearing. The judge will ask the VE to take into consideration your RFC, as determined by the judge, your age, education and prior work experience in determining:
It is crucial that you are represented at a hearing through our Florida social security disability attorney to make sure the right questions are asked of the VE.
Epilepsy and its complications can interfere not only with your daily activities but with your ability to work. If you no longer can work or your doctor has told you to apply for Social Security disability, you should hire Nancy Cavey to help you:
The SSA is in the business of denying claims and will use any reason to deny your benefits. The odds of getting your Social Security benefits are greater when you are represented by experienced Social Security Disability attorney Nancy Cavey.
Epilepsy and its complications can make it difficult, if not impossible, to work. You owe it to yourself and your family to get help today! Ms. Cavey can explain the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation process used in every claim, the claims process and how to get your disability benefits. Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]