March 2019


Social Security Disability Newsletter


Epilepsy Claims
Get Expanded Analysis

Social Security disability applications based upon Epilepsy get an expanded analysis under revised Listing of Impairments Section 11.02.


Social Security disability applications based upon Epilepsy get an expanded analysis under revised Listing of Impairments Section 11.02. While formerly the focus was almost entirely on the frequency of seizures, now there is an analysis on the impact of the seizures.

People suffering generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures at least once a month for three months in a row, despite adher- ence to prescribed treatment, will be presumed totally disabled under 11.02(a).

Claimants coping with dyscognitive (petit mal) seizures at least once a week for three consecutive months, despite adherence to prescribed medical treatment, will also be presumed totally disabled under 11.02(b). If these intense levels of frequency are not met, there are additional considerations.

Section 11.02(c) provides that if a claimant suffered from generalized tonic-clonic seizures at least twice a month, for four consecutive months, despite treatment, will be presumed disabled if the medical records document a “marked” level of impairment in: physical functioning; or, understanding, remembering or applying information; or, interacting with others; or, concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace; or managing oneself.

Claimants with dyscognitive seizures occurring at least once every two weeks for at least three months, despite adherence to treatment, with a marked level of impairment in one of the functional areas noted in subsection c, will be found totally disabled under 11.02(d).

Social Security is quite specific with counting seizures. Only one seizure in a 24-hour period counts. Importantly, patients are expected to take prescribed medications to prevent seizures. “Good cause” for not following prescribed treatment is a high standard. Focus again is on the clinical chart of the treating neurologist. Claimants should be carefully recording their seizures, and the symptoms they suffer after their seizures, and reporting that at the neurologist office visits at least quarterly.

“Physical functioning” limits refer to serious limitations in the ability to initiate or sustain basic activities such as balance, breathing, or ongoing double vision or inability to use the upper extremities. Combinations of physical limitations, along with documented pain or fatigue, may rise to marked physical functioning limitations.

The four mental health issues may be documented by the neurologist, but most often are found in the notes of treating psychologists, and psychiatrists working with therapists or counselors. The focus will be on records documenting problems sustaining basic work activities due to mental health limitations.

People suffering from uncontrolled Epilepsy face serious work obstacles. We can help those whose medical symptoms make work impossible.

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