Narcolepsy is a nervous system impairment that causes sleep related symptoms. People with narcolepsy may have trouble staying awake during the day, often requiring sleep every few hours. They can also fall asleep without warning, potentially putting themselves and others in danger. Narcoleptics may also experience hallucinations, paralysis while waking up or a sudden loss of muscle tone — called cataplexy — when under physical or emotional strain, resulting in loss of muscle strength and control.
Although there is no cure for narcolepsy, some medicines and sleeping habits can reduce the symptoms. If you suffer major impairment from narcolepsy despite medical intervention, you might qualify for social security disability benefits. Read on to see if you qualify, and contact a Tampa social security disability lawyer if you still have questions.
How Do I Know If I Qualify?
If you suffer from narcolepsy, you can qualify for disability benefits if you meet the following criteria:
- You earn $1,040 or less per month, and are therefore below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level
- You have suffered, or are expected to suffer, disability from narcolepsy for at least 12 months
- Your impairment adversely impacts your ability to perform your duties at work
Meeting all of these requirements will get you one step closer to being approved for disability benefits, but you will still have to meet one more major requirement before you officially qualify.
An Alternative to the Listing of Impairments
The Social Security Administration (SSA) 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, you’ll have to show that your disability causes substantial work limitations by taking a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. If this assessment shows that you are unable to do your job, and can’t 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.
Make sure to also provide medication and doctor appointment lists to show that you have done everything you reasonably can to treat your condition.
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.