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Seizures And Social Security Disability Benefits

Posted on in Social Security Disability

"Is it easy to get Social Security disability benefits if you have frequent seizures?"

The short answer is no. There are different types of seizures, but in general, seizure disorder can be a very difficult Social Security disability benefits claim. On the one hand, having frequent seizures can be extremely debilitating. How can someone reasonably be expected to hold down a full-time job if that person is consistently blacking out! Most employers would likely not tolerate that behavior and even if they did, surely one's job performance would suffer from being routinely off task. Whether the seizures come once a week during the day or every day, the condition can be extremely limiting on one's ability to sustain gainful employment.

On the other hand, proving the intensity and frequency of seizures can be difficult. The overwhelming majority of people suffering from seizures have them outside of a hospital or doctor's office. This means that there is typically no record of the seizure taking place, at least in one's medical record. This can become particularly problematic in a Social Security disability benefits claim where they key is proving disability based on medical evidence.

If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits it is important to find a way to keep track of your recurrent seizures. Many of my clients choose to keep a journal or have a family member write down when you have a seizure and describe what happened on each occurrence. Personally keeping track of your seizures can make a difference when it comes time for a Social Security disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge.

Another issue with proving disability based on seizure disorder is whether the individual has consistent treatment. One of the first questions a judge typically asks is "Are you taking your medications (often Dilantin)?" If a claimant has frequent seizures and has access to medication, but is not taking that medication, the judge will likely reject the claim for Social Security disability benefits. Many judges will review blood tests and see whether the phenytoin levels are at a therapeutic blood level. One explanation for the phenytoin levels not being at a therapeutic level is because the claimant is not taking his or medications as prescribed. Of course, another possible explanation is that the claimant's body has become somewhat immune/resistant to the medication. Whether a claimant is actually taking his or her medications as prescribed can become a central issue in any seizure disorder related disability benefits claim.

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