As with any disability claim, it is always important to get proper medical treatment to document the nature and severity of your medical problems. In cases where the primary medical impairment is a seizure disorder, it’s especially important to get proper medical treatment and to inform your RGG Law disability attorney of these medical records. Indeed, the frequency and severity of seizure symptoms is the defining issue in such a case.
Document the Limitations of Your Seizures with Your Doctor and Disability Attorney
Seizure disorders can lead to long-term deficits in memory and concentration. These are relevant factors that a disability attorney can use to help your disability claim. There are also specific seizure precautions which vocational experts use to rule out certain types of work where a seizure disorder of any kind is diagnosed and found to be severe.
The most important functional limitation in a seizure disorder case is the frequency of the seizures, the duration of the seizure episodes and any post-seizure recovery where a person is unable to resume normal activities due to fatigue, disorientation or similar symptoms. Obviously, if a person’s productivity is interrupted by excessive unscheduled breaks or absences due to seizures, they are not able to sustain competitive work in the national economy.
The frequency of seizures can be documented by medical treatment. You should report to the emergency room when appropriate, especially with more severe seizures or when an injury has occurred due to a person falling during a seizure episode. Seizures and seizure frequency should also be reported to medical providers on a regular basis to create a record of how often seizures may occur. These records will be helpful to you and your disability attorney when presenting your case for Social Security.
It is also wise to maintain a log or diary of seizure episodes, noting the date, time and length of the seizure, including any recovery period. Records should be made of whether you lost consciousness, lost control of bodily functions or experienced a fall. Because a person often loses consciousness during a seizure episode, it is useful to have the regular help of another person in updating such a log or diary. Such a record should be shared with your doctors every time you see them so they can check for patterns and make a note to your chart regarding the frequency and severity of your symptoms. This log or diary can also be helpful evidence for you and your disability attorney at your disability hearing.
See Your Doctor Regularly and Record Side Effects
Anyone with seizure symptoms should ideally have regular follow-up visits with a neurologist, the specialist for treatment of such disorders. If your primary care doctor is the one who ordinarily cares for you, it is important to at least have a consultation with a neurologist at some point to verify the diagnosis of a seizure disorder.
Finally, if there are side effects (e.g., drowsiness, poor concentration) related to your required seizure medications, please mention these to your doctors during every visit. It may be that such side effects are unavoidable in order to improve or maintain some control of your seizure symptoms. The side effects themselves, however, may contribute to your functional limitations and your claim of being disabled. By mentioning the side effects you are at least documenting the fact that you experience such a reaction to the medication. What is more, the doctor may be able to make a medication adjustment which alleviates the side effects.