Is Narcolepsy A Disability?

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Yes, under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), narcolepsy is considered a disability. According to this law, an employer must provide reasonable accommodations. This may include adjusting their schedule, allowing additional breaks, and others. All of these could help a person deal with their narcolepsy symptoms.

However, narcolepsy is a disability that is not listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book. Thus, those with narcolepsy will only qualify for SSD aid if their condition is severe.

What is Narcolepsy?

In simple terms, narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder. Specifically, it is a type of sleep disorder. Narcolepsy causes excessive daytime sleepiness and directly impacts a person’s ability to control their sleep/wake cycles. Individuals with narcolepsy may feel energetic after waking up, but they tend to feel sleepy throughout the day.  

Narcolepsy disabilityMany people that have narcolepsy have the issue of irregular or interrupted sleep, leading to frequent waking throughout the night. In short, narcolepsy can enormously affect a person’s day-to-day activities and schedule. 

If narcolepsy is affecting your ability to work, then it’s time to discuss it with your doctor or health care team, or even a neurologist. These professionals can likely help with your situation. 

Sometimes, people with narcolepsy are not able to work and have to quit their jobs. In these cases, narcolepsy can be considered a disability. Disability payments can provide financial support for those with the condition. 

Individuals must be able to show that their severe condition is affecting their working skills, functional capacity, and their ability to do day-to-day activities such as cleaning, bathing, cooking, or self-care.

What are the symptoms of narcolepsy?

People with narcolepsy fall asleep unwillingly even if they are engaged in activities such as eating, having a conversation, or even driving. Obviously, these situations can become highly dangerous. 

Some other symptoms of narcolepsy include: 

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness 
  • Sudden loss of muscle tone
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Changes in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep
  • Hallucinations

If narcolepsy is not properly treated, then the condition can even interfere with the person’s cognitive, social, and psychological development, as well as inhibit their work, social, and academic activities.

Can you get disability for narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is normally considered a disability by the SSA. However, if your narcolepsy symptoms interfere with your capability to work, you might be eligible for benefits. You can seek help from the Disability Benefits Help website, as it will tell you whether or not your medical condition is included in the Blue Book list of disabilities.

When the claimant applies for narcolepsy disability, their application will be reviewed by a representative of the Social Security Administration (SSA). While reviewing the application, the representative will determine whether you meet the requirements and that your condition is listed in the Blue Book.  

The SSA Blue Book lists all conditions it considers disabling. It details the criteria a person has to meet in order to qualify. Essentially, the condition must prevent a person from working.

The representative that reviews the application will decide based on the complete diagnosis of an individual’s narcolepsy condition. If the claimant’s condition results in everyday sleep attacks, then their condition might be included under section 11.03 stated in the Blue Book. The section concerns possible issues with non-convulsive epilepsy.

Does narcolepsy qualify for disability?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), narcolepsy is not considered a disability. However, if the symptoms interfere with an individual’s capability to do any work on a full-time basis, then they may be able to get benefits.

The claimant has to prove the following:

  • They have sleep attacks at least once a week.
  • They have had narcolepsy problems for at least three months, even after treatment.
  • The narcolepsy episodes have a substantial effect on their ability to carry out daily activities.

Along with the above-mentioned requirements, the claimant has to provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with medical evidence in order to qualify for disability for narcolepsy. This may include lab reports, clinical history, and treatment records along with written statements from the doctor.

Which are the two disability programs from the SSA?

There are two types of social security programs for which an individual may qualify:

  • Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) Program
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program

To qualify for either of the programs, your narcolepsy must be severe enough to prove that you are not able to work. Payroll taxes raise the funds for SSDI aid. To qualify for SSI for narcolepsy, applicants must have a low income. 

It’s vital to properly fill out all forms and include accurate detail. The answers that an individual provides can make it easier for a representative to review the case and determine whether the person qualifies for the Social Security benefits or not. After applying, it can take 3 to 6 months to get a verdict for the narcolepsy claim.

What happens if your claim gets rejected?

If your application for narcolepsy disability gets rejected, then you can file an appeal within 60 days of the denial date. The first stage of the appeal process is known as Request for Reconsideration. Usually the first appeal gets denied by the SSA: less than 20% of requests for reconsideration get approved. 

The second stage, known as the disability hearing, can be an opportunity to turn the SSA’s decision in your favor. An administrative law judge (ALJ) conducts this type of hearing. You have to show complete evidence and records to prove that the medical condition is disabling.

Need legal help? Contact a disability law firm today.

If excessive daytime sleepiness or brain fog from narcolepsy is having a serious impact on your work schedule, then you should talk to a disability lawyer. These symptoms can slowly or quickly become devastating to a person’s health and wellbeing.

A disability attorney can help you understand why your initial claim may have been rejected. They can take all necessary measures, such as gathering additional evidence, in order to support your claim and potentially help you gain the disability payment you need.