Figure Out Your Medical Options And Quality Of Life Changes
You need to undergo treatment to validate your disability claim. There are several medications you can take to treat your narcolepsy symptoms. This could involve taking stimulants or a series of anti-depressants.
Your medical professional may also require you to cut out coffee and other forms of caffeine and other habits like smoking. They may also suggest naps and daily exercise so that you have a better handle on your bodys energy levels.
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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.
Va Ratings For Sleep Apnea
There are four different tiers on which the VA rates sleep apnea. The lowest of these is a 0 percent rating, in which you have a diagnosis of sleep apnea, but no symptoms. If this is your only rated condition, you will not receive any monthly compensation from the VA.
If you have chronic daytime sleepiness due to your sleep apnea, the VA will give you a base rating of 30 percent. If you have to use a CPAP machine to manage your sleep apnea, you will receive a rating of 50 percent. If you have chronic respiratory failure or have to have a tracheostomy due to your sleep apnea, youll get a rating of 100 percent.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about sleep apnea VA disability ratings.
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How To Qualify For Va Disability
In order to qualify for VA disability compensation, you must meet three basic criteria. First, you must have an official diagnosis from your condition. This may come from any VA-approved doctor, including a military doctor or simply your family doctor or primary care physician.
As weve mentioned, you must also be able to prove a connection between your condition and your military service. Except in the case of presumptive conditions, you must be able to indicate a specific incident or set of circumstances in your military service that caused your condition. Your doctor will be able to provide a medical nexus saying your condition was at least as likely as not the result of your service incident.
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Is Narcolepsy A Disability
Narcolepsy can meet the criteria for a disability in certain circumstances.
The extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden loss of muscle control that may come with narcolepsy can make it difficult to work. Some people even fall asleep without warning during the day.
These symptoms make certain jobs, including those that involve driving or operating heavy machinery, very dangerous.
People with a disability that limits their ability to work may be able to get Social Security disability benefits.
Narcolepsy isnt on the Social Security Administrations list of qualified disorders. But if you get frequent bouts of sleep attacks, you may still be able to get benefits.
First, youll need to meet these criteria:
- You have at least one episode of narcolepsy each week.
- Youve been on treatment for at least 3 months and you still have symptoms.
- Your condition has a significant impact on your ability to perform daily activities such as driving or following directions.
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance , you must have worked for a certain period of time before you became disabled.
In general, youll need to have worked for the last 5 out of the past 10 years however, the requirement is shorter if youve worked for fewer than 10 years.
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Eligibility For Disability Benefits
To determine whether someone is disabled enough to be eligible for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will consider several factors. The following criteria will be examined when you apply:
- You are likely ineligible for benefits if you earn $1,260 or more a month. If you earn less than that amount, you may still be eligible. However, the amount you receive may be reduced.
- You must be incapable of performing basic tasks required for most jobs, including standing, walking, lifting, sitting, and remembering. You must not have been able to perform these tasks for at least 12 months.
- You must have a recognized disability. The Social Security Administration provides a Listing of Impairments that prevent working. You can still be eligible even if your specific medical condition isnt listed. Narcolepsy is not one of the conditions that is specifically listed, but it can be covered under other disabling conditions that interfere with working.
- You must be unable to do any work you did previously. If youre applying for SSI, its not necessary to have a work history.
- You must be unable to do any other form of sustainable work. The Social Security Administration will consider your diagnosis, age, medical history, education, and work history, as well as any other skills you have that might be applied to work.
Service Connection For Narcolepsy
The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown, though its clear that those who suffer have less hypocretin, a chemical in the brain that regulates your sleeping patterns. However, narcolepsy can be triggered by intense emotion, which can easily be tied back to your time in the service if you suffer from flashbacks. If you choose to file for disability through the VA for narcolepsy, youll need to have the following:
- A recent diagnosis from your doctor
- An official letter from your doctor that states your narcolepsy is tied to your time in the service
- A list and description of events that led to the narcolepsy
Its not uncommon to see a number of psychiatric disorders alongside narcolepsy, such as depression or anxiety. If you experienced severe stress while in the service, there could be a domino effect in terms of the number of disorders that stem from the trauma.
As long as the incident occurred while you were serving with the military, you can file for an in-service occurrence.
For instance, lets say that you were on a night shift where you needed to keep a lookout for potential threats. You had time to sleep during the day, but youre unable to adjust your sleeping schedule fully. After a while, you find that you nod off at unexpected times. You could argue that the narcolepsy was a byproduct of the night shift, and your doctor can help you understand how one event can trigger the other.
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Narcoleptics Have Won Social Security Disability Benefits Based On Narcolepsy’s Functional Similarity To Seizure Disorder
Narcolepsy is a nervous system disorder that causes daytime sleep attacks and a strong feeling of needing to sleep. The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown, although it does tend to run in families. 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.
There is no cure for narcolepsy, but symptoms can sometimes be controlled by scheduling naps and in some cases taking prescription medicine. Narcolepsy can cause difficulty functioning at work or school and can lead to accidents and injuries if a person is so sleepy that he or she can’t function or if the person can’t control the urge to nap.
Medical Evidence Of Narcolepsy
Prevailing on your narcolepsy disability claim requires medical evidence to support the diagnosis. Medical evidence may include one or more of the following:
- Sleep study results
- MRIs or other brain imaging
- Results of muscle testing
- Medical records and treatment notes from physicians and specialists
- Journal that shows patterns in your sleep habits. It is best if the journal is a contemporaneous account of your sleeping habits, as opposed to one created after the fact in anticipation of filing a disability claim, but one written for those purposes is still sufficient
You should also provide information regarding any prescribed treatments, including any you stopped because they were ultimately not helpful. For example, if you stopped taking a medication because the side effects were worse than the condition itself.
Records of injuries youve suffered as a result of narcolepsy may also be helpful. For example, if you fell asleep while driving and were injured in a subsequent car accident, or if the sudden onset of muscle weakness caused you to drop boxes you were moving at work, the medical records can help show how the narcolepsy negatively affects you beyond simply causing you to fall asleep at unexpected times.
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The Winning Method For Disability Benefits Claims
Whether applying for disability benefits under the CPP or through an insurance plan, you will be doing the bare minimum method. This entails going through the whole application process as prescribed by the benefits providers. You submit a complete application with all the requirements and do as you are told. Everyone does this, and they are usually denied. In contrast, you should make your application stand out by going beyond doing the bare minimum to increase your chances of getting your claim approved. We call this the winning method.For CPP disability benefits claims, the Blueprint Strategy by Resolute Legal identifies the six key elements that your application must contain. You can read more about this in our free guide. Essentially, you must be able to tell a comprehensive and persuasive story of your disability and its effect on your life. You can also use the strategy for appeals to both Service Canada and the Social Security TribunalFor disability insurance benefits, Resolute Legal also has a free guide that even beginners can follow. It contains proven techniques for preparing a winning claim. The book also explains why insurance companies deny those who are legitimately disabled and how you can counteract their practices.
Evidence For Narcolepsy Va Disability Claims
The evidence for narcolepsy is largely based on the amount of hypocretin you have and your general sleeping patterns. You may need to visit a sleep lab to have your brain waves measured both when asleep and awake. You can also give more information based on how you function throughout the day. For example, maybe youre making more mistakes in your everyday life due to your drowsiness or find yourself in situations but cant remember how you got there. Your family members may be able to present lay evidence to further prove your daily challenges.
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Have Your Attorney Assist You With Any Next Steps
If youre dealing with any sort of VA disability case, we will advise you on the best way to proceed. This might involve simply helping you through some applications and hearings.
If your claim is denied, we can also help you with an appeal. Well let you know the next steps and which strategies are worthwhile based on the conditions that you are dealing with.
Since youre going to be living with the ramifications of narcolepsy for some time, choosing the best attorney is essential. Were the professionals that youll need to lean on for answers and to guide you through the process for the long term.
Theres always the possibility of getting a denial, so youll want the help of a VA disability lawyer that can assist you through all of the twists and turns that come with the claims process.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veterans Firm, is often asked about veterans disability claims and appeals.
What To Know About Narcolepsy And Social Security Disability
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There is no question that narcolepsy can be very debilitating. The extreme sleepiness and falling asleep at any time causes both physical and emotional issues. Additional symptoms, like hallucinations and weakness while walking increases the burden the condition causes to those who have narcolepsy.1
Because of the unpredictable and dangerous nature of the condition, having narcolepsy may prevent you from being able to perform your daily living activities and your job duties. When this happens, you may find yourself wanting and needing to apply for disability benefits. The federal Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are available to those with disabilities.2
In order to prove your disability, you will have to go through a process and apply. Lets explore the ins and outs of narcolepsy as a disability.
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Tips On Applying For Disability Benefits With Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that results in severe drowsiness and fatigue during the day and being prone to fall asleep at any time. This disorder is extremely unpredictable and can be dangerous. There is no cure, but treatments such as medication and scheduled naps can reduce some of its effects.
The Social Security Administration does not recognize narcolepsy as a medical condition that automatically qualifies you for disability benefits. Therefore, you must provide a Residual Functional Capacity assessment that provides evidence of your disorder and how it affects your ability to work.
Including certain medical evidence on your RFC may be helpful in proving that you qualify as disabled due to your narcolepsy. This evidence should include results from any sleep studies or tests on your brain, as well as tests based on your familys medical history of sleep disorders. It is also helpful to keep a sleep journal that details your sleep pattern due to narcolepsy. Providing the SSA with medical evidence of any doctors appointments, treatments, and diagnosis of your narcolepsy will also be helpful in proving your case for disability benefits.
A complete and thorough RFC will help in proving to the SSA that your narcolepsy makes it unable for you to work.
Also, narcolepsy usually causes extreme drowsiness, which could make jobs that involve the use of heavy machinery or any safety equipment extremely dangerous for a narcoleptic person.
Understand The Law And How It Applies To These Claims
There generally isnt a statute of limitations with veterans disability cases. However, youre more likely to recoup costs when you file as quickly as this becomes a medical issue for you.
Speaking to your attorney regularly will help you get to know this area of law and what changes might affect your payments at a later date. Youll need to always look at the big picture so that you can get a payout that takes care of your lifestyle.
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Contact A Tampa Social Security Disability Lawyer
Reaching out to a Tampa social security disability lawyer can often mean the difference between approval and denial of disability benefits, especially in situations where you must fill out an RFC to qualify. At Disparti Law Group, we can help ensure that your disability claim is taken seriously and that your claim is approved as easily as possible. Contact us for more information about your claim.
Can I Get Disability For My Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is not a condition that can automatically qualify for benefits if it matches a Social Security impairment listingthere is no listing for narcolepsy. But it’s possible your symptoms could be similar enough to those caused by frequent dyscognitive seizures, in which case your condition might be considered equivalent to epilepsy, which does have a listing . For more information, see Nolo’s article on meeting the disability listing for epilepsy.
If you don’t try to “equal” the epilepsy listing, the Social Security Administration will look to whether you are able to perform your past work despite your narcolepsy. If the SSA believes you should be able to perform your past work, your claim will be denied. But if the SSA believes that your narcolepsy prevents you from doing your past work , the SSA will then determine whether there is other work in the U.S. that you’re able to perform. To decide this, the SSA will look at your age, education, past work experience, and the work limitations associated with your narcolepsy.
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Getting The Help You Need To Apply For Disability Benefits
You may need help applying for disability benefits. It is important that your application is complete and has the required documents. Make sure and talk to your doctor about your desire for disability benefits. Your doctor will help you fill out the application. You may also want to look into hiring an attorney. Disability attorneys only get paid if you win the case and if the legal system determines you are owed back pay.1,4