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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

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Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

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Facts about Epilepsy and Filing for Disability


How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits


 
1) Epilepsy is caused by electrical dysfunction in the brain that results in seizures. It is not identified as a single condition, but various syndromes that results in abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

2) Although it is estimated that one in every 100 Americans will have at least one seizure in their lifetime, two or more seizures are necessary for a diagnosis of epilepsy.

3) Epileptic seizures can be extremely mild or quite severe. Mild seizures may be so mild that the person experiencing the seizure simply has a staring spell for a few moments, or they may have severe convulsions and loss of consciousness. No matter how mild or severe a seizure is it should be addressed medically.

4) Young children that experience epileptic seizures may outgrow the condition.

5) It is estimated that nearly 50 million people have epilepsy worldwide. Although the condition can occur at any age in life it is more likely to appear in those over age 65, or in young children.

6) Symptoms of epilepsy include staring blankly, confusion, loss of consciousness or convulsions that include uncontrollable arm and leg movements.

7) Some persons with epilepsy may experience strange symptoms before a seizure, such as severe emotional changes, smelling strange odors that do not exist, or strange sensations such as tingling.

8) Risk for an epileptic seizure in people with epilepsy is increased due to pregnancy, infection, emotional stress, drinking alcohol, certain prescription medications, lack of sleep, and using recreational drugs. Head trauma, stroke, developmental disorders, and genetics may also cause epilepsy.

9) Treatment for epilepsy usually includes anti-convulsants. If these drugs do not work other measures may be taken, such as vagus nerve stimulation therapy or a ketogenic diet. In severe cases brain surgery may be required.

10) Those with epilepsy should wear a medical alert bracelet in case of seizures and are recommended to get enough sleep and take their prescribed medications regularly to reduce risk of seizures.


Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.















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Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews