If you or someone you love has epilepsy, you may be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Epilepsy will not qualify with a diagnosis alone, but depending on what type of seizures you have and how well you’re able to control your symptoms, you may be eligible for monthly financial aid.

Medically Qualifying Via the Blue Book

The SSA uses its own medical guide, known as the Blue Book, when determining whether or not an applicant is eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In October 2017, the SSA updated its Blue Book listing for epilepsy. Right now, there are four ways to qualify instead of just two, and the SSA no longer uses outdated terms like “grand mal” seizures.

It will be slightly easier for people with tonic-clonic seizures to qualify for disability benefits, but those with dyscognitive seizures are eligible as well.

Qualifying with Tonic-Clonic Seizures

There are two ways to qualify with tonic-clonic seizures. If you have one (or more) convulsion seizure per month for at least three consecutive months despite taking your prescribed medication, you will qualify.

You can also qualify if you have tonic-clonic seizures once every two months for at least four consecutive months despite taking prescribed medication, plus limitations in one of the following areas:

• Your ability to physically move (walking without a walker or wheelchair, standing from a seated position, performing dexterous movements with your hands, etc.)
• Interacting with others in a workplace setting, such as relaying information to a superior
• Concentrating, persisting, and finishing tasks
• “Adapting or managing” oneself, which essentially means maintaining appropriate emotions in a workplace

Qualifying with Dyscognitive Seizures

There are also two ways to qualify with dyscognitive seizures, and the Blue Book listing is very similar to the tonic-clonic seizure listing. The first way to qualify is if you can show that you have at least one dyscognitive seizure per week for three consecutive months, despite taking your prescribed medications.

You can also qualify if you have one dyscognitive seizure every other week for at least three months, plus limitations in any of the following areas of functioning:

• Your ability to physically move
• Interacting with others in a workplace setting
• Concentrating, persisting, and finishing tasks
• “Adapting or managing” oneself

The entire Blue Book is available online, so you can review the epilepsy listings with your neurologist or primary care physician to get a good idea as to whether you’ll qualify. One of the most important components of your claim will be proving you’re following all prescribed treatments for epilepsy. If you’re not taking all of your medications, your claim will not be approved.

Starting Your Social Security Application

The easiest way to apply for disability benefits is online on the SSA’s website. If you are unable to finish, you can always save your progress to be completed at a later time. If you’d prefer, you can also apply in person at your closest Social Security office. To apply in person, simply call the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment to get the process started.

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