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Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits

Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Narcolepsy and Filing for Disability

1) Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) that occurs no matter how well rested the person is, and sudden ‘attacks’ of sleep that happen during the day, sometimes at inopportune times such as while at work, watching TV, at school, or even while talking to someone or making love!

2) Cataplexy, a sudden loss of muscle tone, is thought to affect nearly 70 percent of narcolepsy sufferers. It can last a few minutes or only a few seconds, and may only happen once or twice a year or several times a day depending on the person.

3) Although the cause of narcolepsy is not known, one theory is that there may be triggers, such as an abnormal immune response, that cause damage to brain cells that make hypocretin, a chemical that regulates REM sleep and staying awake. Those with narcolepsy have low levels of hypocretin. It may also be genetic.

4) Narcolepsy affects nearly one out of every 2,000 people in the United States, and affects men more often than women.

5) It is fairly easy to initially diagnose narcolepsy based on the report of loss of muscle tone and EDS, and in addition there are various tests that can help further diagnose. From a questionnaire called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a sleep measurement device called a Actigraphy, and a heart, brain, eyes, breathing and muscle monitor called a polysomnogram, to a multiple sleep latency test involving sleep examinations, there are many ways to help rule out other issues and make a direct diagnosis.

6) Narcolepsy can be dangerous and even fatal. This is not due to any health complications, but rather is due to the potential of falling asleep while driving or operating heavy machinery.

7) Narcolepsy is associated with impotence and low sex drive, and may affect personal relationships.

8) There is no cure for narcolepsy though antidepressants and stimulants may be prescribed to help manage symptoms. Sodium oxybate is sometimes prescribed to help manage cataplexy.

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.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria