Disability and sleep disorders

I am wondering if insomnia would be regarded as a condition that would merit receiving SS. I need to know how I can prove that this is affecting my life. I barely sleep and I cannot function from day to day making it nearly impossible to hold a regular job.

There are two ways of getting approved for disability benefits:

1) Through the listings;

2) Through a medical vocational allowance approval.

There is no listing for insomnia. So, that means that an approval for a person who lists this as their allegation would have to prove that they no longer, due to the limitations caused as a result of insomnia, have the ability to do their past work and do not possess the ability to do some type of other work, given certain other factors such as their age, level of education, level of work skills, and whatever physical or mental limitations have been determined by a disability examiner or judge after an evaluation of the medical evidence has been made.

If a person were to be approved on the basis of insomnia alone it would be the result of insomnia's effects in terms of the ability to engage in normal activities of daily living, or simply ADLs. Sleep disorders are known to cause fatigue, affect alertness and the ability to concentrate and pay attention, and also affect such disorders are also known to have an impact on cardiovascular (heart) conditions, and even diabetes.

For this reason, a medical consultant at DDS (DDS, disability determination services, is the state agency where disability examiners make decisions on disability applications and reconsideration appeals and DDS medical consultants are the doctors who provide consultation to examiners on their cases) might take into consideration listing 11.04B (Significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station) which is specifically part of the listing for strokes, but, functionally, may be equivalently applied to non-stroke cases.

A medical consultant and examiner might also take into consideration listing 12.02 Organic mental disorders (Psychological or behavioral abnormalities associated with a dysfunction of the brain).

In the end, it should be noted, the individual's specific diagnosed condition, i.e. the name of the impairment, is not really what Social Security is concerned with. SSA is focused on how the condition limits the person's ability to work.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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