Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes seizures. Seizures are abnormal brain activity that causes physical or mental symptoms that can vary greatly depending on the type of seizure. When most people think of seizures, they think of the classic grand mal, tonic-clonic type of seizure when a person collapses and their whole body convulses violently. However, that is not the only type of seizure disorder that could qualify you for disability. For instance, you might experience petit mal seizures, which most commonly involve a brief loss of consciousness that looks like a “staring” spell. Temporal lobe seizures, a form of focal epilepsy, could cause a person to briefly experience intense and disorienting thoughts and memories and changes in perception. Complex seizures can cause involuntary but coordinated movements called “automatisms” such as lip smacking. The classification of the over 40 types of seizure is quite complex, and I am not a neurologist. However, I know that you should see a neurologist if you suffer from any kind of seizure disorder. Without the opinion of a neurologist, you cannot win a disability claim on the basis of a seizures disorder.
The key to obtaining disability benefits on the basis of any kind of seizure activity is the frequency of the seizure activity despite compliance with treatment. If you are not taking the medications prescribed to you, you cannot get disability benefits on the basis of your seizure disorder. If your doctor has recommended that you quit drinking alcohol and you have not, the judge will likely deny your claim for that reason.
The rules that determine how severe and frequent your seizures need to be for you to be considered disabled are set out in Section 11.0 – Neurological – Adult in the Social Security Administration’s listing of impairments.
If you suffer from non epileptic seizures, sometimes referred to as pseudo seizures, then your condition will be evaluated under the listing for Somatoform disorder, found under Section 12.0 – Mental – Adult of the Social Security Administration’s listing of impairments. However, you condition could also be found to meet or equal one of the epileptic seizure listings