Ram has provided some helpful information below to help narcoleptics navigate their way through the disability process if needed. Happy reading- Hilary
Applying for Social Security Disability with Narcolepsy
If you suffer from narcolepsy, which is not effectively, or sufficiently controlled with medication, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits through:
-Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - a program designed to provide financial support to disabled workers.
-Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - a need-based program designed to provide benefits for disabled workers and their dependents who have very limited income and other financial resources.
Qualifying for SSD Programs
To receive benefits through either of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability programs, you must meet the medical and the technical requirements for the program. The medical criterion is the same for both programs, but the technical eligibility criterion varies. For SSDI, you must have sufficient work credits and must not earn more than the SSA’s substantial gainful activity (SGA) monthly limit of $1,040 per month (as of 2013). For SSI, you must have very limited income and other financial resources.
You can learn more about the differences between SSDI and SSI here: http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/245/~/difference-between-social-security-disability-and-ssi-disability
Medical Eligibility for SSD Benefits
To receive benefits through either program, you must meet the SSA’s definition of disability. The SSA considers you disabled if you are expected to be out of work for at least a year due to your disabling conditions. You must be unable to perform the work that you did before or for any other work for which you are qualified.
Documenting Your Narcolepsy and Equaling a Listed Condition
The SSA follows a standard process in evaluating applications for disability benefits. First, they determine if you meet the technical criteria. Next, they review your medical documentation to see if it either meets or matches a listed condition in the SSA’s Blue Book (http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/).
Narcolepsy is not listed in the Blue Book, which means you cannot meet a listed condition; however, the SSA does sometimes find applicants eligible for benefits by matching their condition to the listing for non-convulsive epilepsy, which appears in the Blue Book under section 11.03.
To match this listing, your medical documentation must specifically show that despite being on prescribed medications for at least three months that you still suffer from:
- At least one narcoleptic attack per week,
- Episodes that severely disrupt your day activities.
- Attest to the fact that you have adhered to prescribed therapies
- Reports that despite taking your medications as prescribed, you continue to experience disruptive, daytime narcoleptic attacks that severely disrupt your activities
- And which reports how frequently your narcoleptic attacks occur and how long they typically last
Submitting Your Application for SSD
You can complete your disability application in person at your local SSA office or on the SSA’s website. Completing your application online is often the fastest way to initiate a claim as there is no need to wait for an appointment. If you do decide to fill out your application at your local office, ensure you make an appointment ahead of time to avoid further delays in the process.
Don’t be discouraged if you application is initially denied. Almost 2/3 of applicants are initially denied benefits. If you are denied, you will have to go through the appeals process, which consists of a request for reconsideration and a disability hearing. The disability hearing will be your best chance to get approved for benefits. Almost 60% of claimants are approved for benefits at the hearing stage.
Since narcolepsy is not a listed condition with the SSA, you may also want to seek the assistance of a Social Security Disability advocate or attorney. He or she may be able to help increase your chances of being approved for SSD benefits.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
For more information on Narcolepsy and SSD, please visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/narcolepsy