What are seizures and epilepsy?

Seizures are sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain. When someone has 2 or more seizures for an unknown reason, they are diagnosed with epilepsy. In adults, the most common potentially disabling seizures are:

  • Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures (GTS), which are characterized by loss of consciousness with sudden muscle tensing causing a person to lose his or her ability to sit or stand, followed by convulsions. This may include tongue biting and bowel or bladder incontinence. This type of seizure is also called a Grand Mal Seizure.
  • Dyscognitive Seizures (DS), are characterized by an alteration of consciousness without convulsions. These seizures involve blank staring, changes in facial expressions and repetitive lip smacking, chewing or swallowing.

Typically after either type of seizure, a person will be sleepy or confused or have no memory of the event. Treating doctors will often order “No Driving” restrictions until a person is seizure-free for 6 or more months.

How are seizures diagnosed?

In order to make a diagnosis of seizures, a doctor may look at other factors that may have caused the event, such as: drug and alcohol abuse, recent injuries to the head, high fevers or infections. The doctor may order a CT of your brain, blood tests, EEGs or spinal taps to determine the nature and severity of the seizures.

Can you qualify for Social Security disability benefits with seizures or epilepsy?

In order to qualify for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will examine the medically documented description of your seizures and count them:

  • For GTS-a seizure has to occur at least once a month for at least 3 consecutive months, despite adherence to prescribed treatment
  • For DS-a seizure has to occur at least once a week for 3 consecutive months, despite adherence to prescribed treatment.

Additionally, SSA will examine how your seizures affect your ability to function at home and at work. Specifically, SSA will examine the physical toll the seizures have on you, are you biting your tongue hard enough to require separate treatment for your tongue or are you hurting yourself during your convulsions; are you able to understand and remembers things like home and work tasks; are you able to interact appropriately with your family members and co-workers; are you able to concentrate and persist at a task both before and after your seizures; are you able to adapt and manage yourself despite your seizures.

How can Balin Law help?

Balin Law can walk you through all the requirements that SSA requires for a finding of disability for seizures and epilepsy. We can direct you toward the necessary documentation of your seizures and how they would negatively impact your ability to maintain sustained, competitive employment.