Narcolepsy And Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration does not consider narcolepsy a disability that automatically qualifies applicants for SSD benefits. These disabling medical conditions are found in the SSAs Blue Book, which contains more than 100 medical conditions the SSA considers disabling enough to qualify applicants for SSD benefits, provided they meet the medical criteria.
To prevail on a narcolepsy disability claim, applicants must instead be able to prove that their condition meets or exceeds one of the Blue Book listings. This means being able to show that the narcolepsy:
- Has lasted, or is expected to last, 12 months or longer, and
- Interferes with your ability to participate in substantial gainful activity .
In addition, applicants filing a narcolepsy disability claim must have enough work credits to qualify for SSD benefits. Without sufficient work credits, your SSD disability claim will be denied, even if you can prove the first two criteria.
Meeting this threshold requires that you provide medical evidence and complete a residual functional capacity assessment.
An Alternative To The Listing Of Impairments
The Social Security Administration usually requires that people seeking benefits show that their disability matches one of the conditions in their list of qualifying impairments. Narcolepsy, however, does not fall under any of the entries currently in the listing of impairments. As a result, youll have to show that your disability causes substantial work limitations by taking a Residual Functional Capacity assessment. If this assessment shows that you are unable to do your job, and cant get a different job, you can qualify for benefits.
An RFC is a report that describes in detail how your narcolepsy impacts your ability to perform duties at work. This form must show that your impairment exceeds what your employer can reasonably accommodate, or that your condition results in at least a 20 percent reduction in your productivity at work.
The SSA will be more likely to approve your claim if your RFC comes from a specialist, so make sure that your neurologist, rather than a general physician, fills out your RFC. Have your neurologist provide specific medical evidence, like EEGs, genetic testing and sleep studies, that illustrate your disrupted sleep patterns and muscle weakness. This evidence can go a long way toward proving that your narcolepsy makes it extremely difficult and unsafe for you to perform job duties like driving or exerting yourself.
What Is The State Of The Science Involving Narcolepsy
In the past few decades, scientists have made considerable progress in understanding narcolepsy and identifying genes strongly associated with the disorder.
Groups of neurons in several parts of the brain interact to control sleep, and the activity of these neurons is controlled by a large number of genes. The loss of hypocretin-producing neurons in the hypothalamus is the primary cause of type 1 narcolepsy. These neurons are important for stabilizing sleep and wake states. When these neurons are gone, changes between wake, REM sleep, and non-REM sleep can happen spontaneously. This results in the sleep fragmentation and daytime symptoms that people with narcolepsy experience.
However, it is important to note that these gene variations are common in the general population and only a small portion of the people with the HLA-DQB1*06:02 variation will develop narcolepsy. This indicates that other genetic and environmental factors are important in determining if an individual will develop the disorder.
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Can You Get Disability For Narcolepsy
You can qualify for disability benefits for your narcolepsy if you can prove to the SSA that your condition prevents you from being able to work and that theyre expected to last for at least one year.
However, the SSA has strict eligibility requirements and youll need to show clear medical documentation to prove that you qualify. You can increase your odds of approval by working with a disability lawyer. Theyll know how to gather the necessary medical evidence to prove your narcolepsy. They can also fill out your application in a way that strengthens your case.
Your Sleep Related Breathing Disorder Disability Case
The process of applying for disability benefits can be a long and difficult one. All too often, after spending several months during the application process, claimants are denied and faced with the choice of whether or not to pursue the matter through the appeals process.
Working with an experienced disability attorney will give you the best chance of getting the benefits you deserve for your sleep disorder. Even if you have been denied benefits, that does not mean your fight is over. Many people are denied benefits the first time they apply. You have the right to file an appeal and try to get more information that may help your case. Getting expert help is often the difference between being denied and being approved for benefits.
While the process can be daunting, your experienced disability attorney will be able to guide you through the process. They do not get paid until you win your case. You can seek help without worrying about upfront costs or unexpected bills.
The Ortiz Law Firm has successfully represented people in disability cases across the United States. If you would like to talk to an experienced disability lawyer about your sleep disorder and its impact on your ability to work, call us at . We would be happy to evaluate your case and to discuss how to help you through the appeal process.
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What Should Be Done If Ssdi Application Is Denied
If an application is denied, the applicant can file an appeal within 60 days of the date on his or her denial notice. In case the appeal is denied, a disability hearing in front of a judge will be the next stage. Statistics show that applicants who work with disability lawyers have higher chances of being awarded benefits than those who choose to represent themselves.
Applying for SSDI can be a confusing process. Applicants can get assistance from local disability lawyers, the SSAs disability starter kit, and organizations for people with disabilities.
Disability Benefits For Narcolepsy And Cataplexy
Social Security Disability Lawyers: Riverside, Orange & San Bernardino Counties
What is Narcolepsy?
The National Institutes of Health defines narcolepsy as a chronic neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. Affected individuals, even after a good night’s sleep, can feel excessively sleepy throughout the day. In fact, they may suddenly fall asleep without warning, even while performing activities such as driving, walking, talking, and eating. Accordingly, narcolepsy can be very disrupting and can cause significant interference with virtually all other spheres of life, including social activities and disability from work.
Episodes of narcolepsy are sometimes referred to as sleep attacks, where a sudden feeling of extreme sleepiness comes on quickly and without warning.
It can be accompanied by sudden muscle weakness that causes a person to be unable to move. Emotions such as anger, crying, fear, and laughter can trigger an attack of cataplexy. Sleep paralysis is a form of cataplexy and may occur either just before falling asleep or after waking up. Some people have vivid dreams or hallucinations.
Less than 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with narcolepsy every year, which makes it a rare disease. It can occur in both sexes and can start at any age, but most often before the age of 25. It can last a lifetime. The exact cause of narcolepsy is not known, and there is no cure.
What we Know About Narcolepsy
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What Symptoms Of Narcolepsy Keep You From Working
Common symptoms of narcolepsy include:
- excessive daytime sleepiness
- sudden “sleep attacks,” where you feel a very strong urge to sleep during the day
- cataplexy, which is where you have a sudden loss of muscle strength that can cause you to physically collapse
- sleep paralysis, where you can’t move right before you fall asleep or when you are waking up, and
- hypnagogic hallucinations, which occur between sleeping and waking and can involve seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there.
Narcolepsy type 1 refers to a more severe form of narcolepsy that includes cataplexy and sleep paralysis. People with narcolepsy type 2 don’t experience cataplexy. Hypersomnia can mean both EDS and an umbrella term for any condition in which you feel extreme daytime sleepiness despite getting enough sleep.
How Hard Is It To Get Disability For Narcolepsy
Your doctor can provide you with a diagnosis of Narcolepsy and the precipitating symptoms. However, it is very important to document how those symptoms affect and impair your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Your medical records should clearly document the duration, frequency, and intensity of your symptoms. Including daytime sleepiness, any sleep attacks you have experienced, and if you have suffered from any episodes of cataplexy. Some sufferers of Narcolepsy find keeping a symptom journal helpful in tracking their daily, weekly, and monthly symptoms. This helps them explain what has occurred since their last doctors appointment and may be useful during the disability application process.
In addition, it may also be helpful to ask family members or close friends to write a letter explaining how your symptoms affect your social and daily life. This may include how this family member or friend has witnessed a change in your ability to concentrate, focus, or stay on task since your diagnosis of Narcolepsy. Any evidence that you are able to provide to the insurance company showing how the symptoms of your Narcolepsy have a negative impact on your life can help during the application process for disability benefits.
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Sleep Disorder Disability In Canada
Weve all encountered that grumpy person in the morning who didnt get a good nights rest. Now imagine that level of frustration stretched over many nights of inadequate sleep.
Sleep disorder, or somnipathy, is an ailment in which a person experiences interferences in his or her normal sleep cycle. While an abnormal sleep schedule doesnt sound dangerous, sleep disorder can slowly grind away at a persons physical, mental, and emotional well being.
Sleep problems can come in various forms, the three most common being insomnia, bruxism , and Rapid Eye Movement Behavior Disorder . There are a few treatments to manage a persons sleep disorder, including behavioural or psychotherapeutic treatments, sleep medication, and even hypnosis.
Narcolepsy And Social Security Disability
Narcolepsy is a nervous system disorder that causes an individual to have intense sudden urges to take naps during the day, having what are often referred to as sleep attacks. There is no known cause or cure for narcolepsy, but some evidence has suggested that it may be a hereditary disorder. The symptoms of narcolepsy often include:
- Excessive sleepiness throughout the day
- Sudden and strong urges to take naps
- Sleep paralysis, which is the inability to move just before and after sleeping
- Cataplexy, or the sudden loss of muscle strength that can cause you to collapse
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits for Narcolepsy
Maintaining employment can be impossible if you cannot stay awake for long periods of time. In some cases, the fatigue and loss of muscle control associated with Narcolepsy even make attempting to work dangerous. If narcolepsy limits your ability to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Narcolepsy is not specifically listed in the Social Security blue book, but your symptoms may meet the requirements of another disabling condition.
Meeting the Qualifications
When a medical condition is not listed in the blue book, it is still possible to qualify for disability benefits. The blue book listing that has the most in common with narcolepsy is non-convulsive epilepsy.
To qualify under this listing, you need to prove that the following statements are true:
Medical Evidence Needed When Applying for SSD with Narcolepsy
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Tips For Applying For Narcolepsy Disability Benefits
- Keep a journal.
- Narcolepsy affects a persons ability to focus, and concentrate, so a journal or diary of symptoms can help you remember your symptoms, days missed at work or projects that you missed deadlines.
Therefore, as a general guideline, if you meet the following criteria:
- You have been receiving treatment for Narcolepsy for at least three months, and you are still experiencing symptoms
- Your condition has a significant impact on your ability to perform the essential duties of your regular occupation and,
- You have missed work due to your Narcolepsy symptoms at least four days a month.
It may be time to review your short-term and long-term disability policies and consider tips for applying for disability benefits.
How Much Is A Disability Check For Narcolepsy
The average Social Security disability check for someone diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder, which includes narcolepsy, is $1,377.36 per month.
Exactly how much you get depends on the type of benefits you receive and your work or income history. You can qualify for Social Security disability insurance if youve worked for at least five of the past 10 years, and the maximum possible benefit is about $3,300. Supplemental Security Income is an option for you if you have little to no income, savings, or work history. SSI pays up to $941 per month in 2023.
Get further details with our guide to how much people make on disability benefits.
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How To Win Disability Benefits For Sleep Disorders
1. Beware. Insurers may argue that a mental disorder is causing your sleep issues.
Insurance companies do this because it is much harder to win a mental disorder claim than for other medical conditions. Also, many insurance policies limit benefits for mental illness claims to only two years because psychological disorders are considered treatable within that time. Furthermore, you might be required to undergo regular treatments and provide progress reports about your mental illness to continue receiving your benefits.
2. It is critical to include all your other disabling conditions as part of your claim.
You can strengthen your claim by including other conditions you might have that are contributing to your disability. This is important even though you may feel that your sleep disorder is the primary issue. Disabling conditions that are often diagnosed in conjunction with sleep disorders include the following:
3. Proper diagnosis and testing by a sleep specialist are critical.
When preparing your claim, it is important to include all documents and medical reports you need to prove that you have a sleep disorder. It is not enough to state that you suffer from the condition. Benefits providers will want solid data and the assurance of a sleep physician.
4. You must demonstrate that you have followed all treatment recommendations and show that they have not been successful.
5. Credibility is key.
Disability From Sleep Disorders: You Are Not Alone
A majority of the population has suffered from irregular sleep patterns and behaviours at some point in their lives. These sleep disorders become a disability when they hinder the normal daily functioning of an individual and severely affect their mental, physical and emotional health.
Sleep disorders can be classified into four categories: insomnia, hypersomnia, parasomnia and circadian rhythm sleep disorder .
Insomnia or the lack of sleep is often related to either a mental disorder like anxiety, stress or depression or a health condition like heart disease, diabetes or brain injury. The use of drugs, type of diet and hormonal shifts can also cause individuals to have difficulty sleeping. A person suffering from insomnia would find themself unable to fall asleep or stay asleep. Taking sleeping pills is a common treatment for insomnia, but pills can worsen the condition in the long run.
Hypersomnia, or excessive sleep, has several types. The most commonly known is narcolepsy, which is a condition that causes individuals to fall asleep uncontrollably. These sleep attacks occur throughout the day, even when the person is busy with a task. Narcolepsy is sometimes accompanied by cataplexy or weakness of the muscles. So, narcoleptics often injure themselves at work, especially when engaged in risky activities like driving or operating heavy machinery.
Circadian rhythm sleep disorder
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Narcolepsy And Social Security Disability Benefits
When you file an application for Social Security Disability benefits, your application will be reviewed by a representative of the Social Security Administration . During this review, the representative will check to make sure you meet some basic program criteria as well as check to see if your condition is listed in the SSAs Blue Book. The Blue Book is a publication put forth by the SSA that lists all of the disabling conditions that could potentially qualify an individual for disability benefits as well as the criteria that must be met in order to qualify under each specific condition.
In the case of narcolepsy, there is no specific listing for the condition. Because of this, those who review cases based on a diagnosis of narcolepsy will often see if the individual who is applying can qualify under the listings that address epilepsy. If your narcolepsy results in frequent sleep attacks, your condition may qualify under Section 11.03 of the Blue Book. This is the section that addresses non-convulsive epilepsy. To qualify for benefits under this Blue Book listing, you must be able to prove that:
- You have at least one episode of narcolepsy per week
- Your condition must persist in spite of at least three months of treatment and
- Your episodes have a significant effect on your ability to perform day-to-day activities.