Yes, it is possible to receive disability benefits for epilepsy through both SSDI and SSI programs in the United States, if you are unable to hold a job due to your severe medical condition.

To qualify for SSDI benefits based on epilepsy, the individual must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain amount of time and be unable to work due to their epilepsy. 

To be eligible for SSI benefits based on epilepsy, the individual must have limited income and resources and be unable to work due to their epilepsy.

In both cases, the individual must provide medical evidence that their epilepsy is severe enough to prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity. The Social Security Administration will evaluate the individual’s medical records, including the frequency and severity of seizures, the effectiveness of treatment, and the impact of seizures on daily activities.

Is Epilepsy A Disability?

Yes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the United States considers epilepsy to be a disabling condition, and it is listed in the SSA’s Blue Book under Section 11.02 – Epilepsy. The Blue Book is a guide that lists medical conditions and criteria for determining eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

To qualify for either SSDI or SSI, you must have a medical condition that meets the criteria in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book. Epilepsy is listed in the Blue Book under the neurological disorders section. You must also have a work history that shows that you have been unable to work for at least 12 months due to your medical condition.

How Does The SSA Define Epilepsy?

According to the SSA, epilepsy is a neurological condition that will result in seizures that may be recurrent and unprovoked. It may be the manifestation of some electrical activity in the brain. SSA recognizes epilepsy caused by psychological or neurological conditions.

What Are The Symptoms Of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures, which are sudden, uncontrollable electrical disturbances in the brain. 

The symptoms of epilepsy can vary widely depending on the type of seizure, the part of the brain affected, and the individual’s overall health. Some common symptoms of epilepsy are as follows:

  • Seizures: Seizures are the most common symptom of epilepsy. They can range from mild and barely noticeable to severe and life-threatening. Seizures can cause convulsions, muscle stiffness, loss of consciousness, and altered sensory perception. (Learn more about seizure disability benefits)
  • Aura: Some people with epilepsy experience an aura before a seizure. An aura is a warning sign that a seizure is about to occur and can take the form of a strange sensation, such as a smell or taste, or a sudden feeling of fear or anxiety.
  • Loss of consciousness: During a seizure, a person with epilepsy may lose consciousness and become unresponsive. This can be brief or last for several minutes.
  • Confusion and disorientation: After a seizure, a person with epilepsy may feel confused or disoriented. They may have trouble remembering what happened during the seizure or may not remember the seizure at all.
  • Behavioral changes: Some people with epilepsy experience behavioral changes before or after a seizure. They may become agitated, aggressive, or withdrawn.
  • Physical symptoms: Seizures can cause physical symptoms such as headache, fatigue, nausea, and difficulty speaking or moving.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have epilepsy, it’s important to seek medical attention to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Common Types Of Epilepsy

There are many different types of epilepsy, which can be broadly categorized based on the underlying cause of seizures, the age of onset, and the pattern of seizure activity. Some common types of epilepsy include:

  • Idiopathic epilepsy: This is epilepsy with no identifiable cause, which is often seen in children and young adults. It is thought to be caused by genetic factors.
  • Symptomatic epilepsy: This is epilepsy that is caused by an underlying condition or injury, such as a brain tumor, stroke, or head injury.
  • Cryptogenic epilepsy: This is epilepsy with an unknown cause, but with evidence of an underlying brain abnormality on MRI scans.
  • Focal epilepsy: This is epilepsy that originates in one area of the brain and can cause localized symptoms, such as twitching or numbness in one part of the body.
  • Generalized epilepsy: This is epilepsy that involves both sides of the brain and can cause loss of consciousness or convulsive seizures.
  • Absence epilepsy: This is a type of generalized epilepsy that is characterized by brief episodes of staring or “absences,” which can be mistaken for daydreaming.
  • Myoclonic epilepsy: This is a type of generalized epilepsy that is characterized by brief, shock-like muscle jerks.
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy: This is epilepsy that originates in the temporal lobe of the brain and can cause complex partial seizures, which can cause altered consciousness and unusual behavior.

The specific type of epilepsy an individual has will depend on a variety of factors, including the underlying cause of seizures, the age of onset, and the pattern of seizure activity.

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Applying For Epilepsy

If your answers to more than half of the questions below are yes, then you may be eligible to apply for disability benefits:

  • Do I struggle with regular generalized seizures, focal seizures, dyscognitive seizures, or tonic-clonic seizures?
  • Do you experience multiple seizures a day?
  • Do you take some medications prescribed for epilepsy disorder?
  • Do you require personal assistance for your daily tasks?
  • Do you lose consciousness or experience spasms during epileptic episodes?

Eligibility Criteria For Getting Disability With Epilepsy

The criteria for getting disability with epilepsy can vary depending on the country and the specific disability program. In the United States, for example, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability benefits to individuals who are unable to work due to a medical condition, including epilepsy. 

To qualify for disability benefits with the SSA, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • The individual must have a documented history of seizures, including the frequency, duration, and nature of the seizures.
  • The seizures must significantly limit the individual’s ability to perform basic work-related activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, or concentrating.
  • The seizures must be expected to last for at least 12 months or be expected to result in death.
  • The individual must not be able to perform any other type of work, given their age, education, and work experience.

In addition to meeting these criteria, individuals with epilepsy may also need to provide medical documentation, including EEGs, imaging studies, and other diagnostic tests, to support their disability claim.

What If Your Epilepsy Meets The SSA’s Eligibility Criteria?

If your epilepsy meets the SSA’s eligibility criteria, you must apply as soon as possible. Some guidelines that may help you in your disability claim are as follows:

  • You must apply if you have a diagnosis of the disorder, and symptoms are worsening making it impossible for you to work. 
  • You must consider waiting if you are able to work and your symptoms are moderate as you are responding to treatment. 
  • You must wait and apply later if you are earning more than $1,550 per month and you are able to work despite your symptoms and medical condition. 

What If Your Epilepsy Doesn’t Meet The SSA’s Eligibility Criteria?

It is quite challenging to qualify for disability benefits for epilepsy. You may apply for the disability if you believe you are eligible and meet the criteria of the SSA. However, in most cases, initial applications get denied owing to not filing the application form correctly. 

Therefore, it becomes fundamental to talk with an attorney who will advise you on your personal situation and how to move forward with your claim. 

How Much Disability Can I Get For Epilepsy

The amount of disability you can get for epilepsy depends on the severity of your condition and your work history. If you are unable to work due to your epilepsy, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The average monthly benefit is $1,356.10 in 2024.

If you have limited work history or no work history, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The maximum monthly benefit for SSI recipients is $942 in 2024 and for SSDI is $3,822. 

If you are denied benefits, you can appeal the decision. You may want to consider hiring a Social Security disability lawyer to help you with your appeal.

Disability Conditions That May Qualify For Benefits

Blindness Brain Tumor AFIB Autism
BPD Cancer Narcolepsy PTSD
Vertigo Schizophrenia Seizure Dyslexia
Celiac Disease Anxiety Depression ADHD
Agoraphobia Alopecia Asthma Bipolar
Breast Cancer Dementia Dysautonomia Epilepsy
Fibromyalgia Hearing Loss lupus POTS
Scoliosis Sleep Apnea Diabetes