Can You Collect Disability Benefits for Non-Epileptic Seizures?
Collecting long-term disability insurance benefits presents challenges you may not have expected. Many assume that their disability benefits provider will pay out when you have a documented disease. Unfortunately, many also find out that the insurance company holding their individual or group disability policy does not want to pay out benefits when the policyholder needs them the most.
The struggle to get timely disability insurance benefits can be especially difficult when it comes to seizures. This piece discusses disability coverage for seizures, and focuses on the challenges of getting benefits for non-epileptic seizures.
Epileptic versus Non-Epileptic Seizures
Seizures are caused by sudden abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. Non-epileptic seizures do not disrupt electrical brain activity in the same way epilepsy does. The symptoms of non-epileptic and epileptic seizures, however, are very similar.
Symptoms may include:
- Temporary blindness
- Stiffening body parts
- Twitching movements
- Biting of the tongue
- Loss of consciousness
- Falling down
- Unsteady gait
Non-epileptic seizures are often caused by stress. These seizures may be induced by other health conditions, like heart disease or diabetes. Treatment of non-epileptic seizures includes cognitive behavioral therapy, as non-epileptic seizures do not react to anti-seizure medication. This treatment often takes months to show real improvement. Non-epileptic seizures can have significant consequences, such as putting someone out of work while they are working hard in therapy to get better.
With this in mind, if you suffer from a non-epileptic seizure, you may want to file a timely, comprehensive claim for long-term disability insurance benefits. Establishing your disabilty claim in non-epileptic seizure cases can be difficult, and it is a good idea to hire a long-term disability lawyer to assist so that you can navigate the complex process toward a successful claim.
How Disability Insurance Carriers Handle Non-Epileptic Seizure Claims
Regardless of the ailment, many long-term disability insurance providers will deny an initial claim outright. Disability insurers are especially stingy when it comes to non-epileptic seizure claims.
If you make a non-epileptic seizure disability claim, you may find that your insurance provider denies your claim because:
- There is no clear objective, compelling medical evidence proving that you suffer from non-epileptic seizures
- Even if you have non-epileptic seizures, you can still work
- You did not file your disability claim in time
- Your policy excludes mental disabilities
- Your medical, occupational and financial evidence is lacking.
These are just a few of the many reasons a disability insurance company may give to deny benefits for non-epileptic seizures. Remember, before you file your initial disability claim, it is to your advantage to speak with a knowledgeable long-term disability attorney who can help you collect the proper evidence to give your claim the best chance of success. A disability lawyer can review your insurance policy in detail to make sure specific terms in the policy do not bar your claim. Many long-term disability policies exclude mental disabilities, under which category an insurance company may try to fit non-epileptic seizures. Similarly, other policies cap or limit mental nervous and self-reported claims to 12 months of benefits.
Unfortunately, non-epileptic seizures can cause just as much restriction and limitation as epileptic seizures. An experienced disability attorney will know this and can help you prepare the proper claim information to take on your insurance company. A disability attorney can collect evidence of your condition, including reports and testing from medical experts to prove that you suffer from a covered disability.
Non-Epileptic Seizure Causes
Non-epileptic seizures have many causes. Because each person is different, we react differently to similar situations.
When you face a stressful situation in life or at work, it may be more difficult for some people to control their emotions. Many times, people hide their emotions. Over time, these emotions build up and a physical reaction can occur in the form of non-epileptic seizures. In other words, your body is simply so overwhelmed by your feelings that a physical reaction happens.
These seizures could be caused by:
- Car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Death of a loved one
- Physical abuse
- Psychological stress
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Locating the triggering event will help treat your non-epileptic seizure, but it’s not always possible. Because of this, you could face extended time out of work to deal with the underlying issues.
Getting a Medical Diagnosis for Non-Epileptic Seizures
To qualify for disability insurance benefits for non-epileptic seizures, you’ll need a thorough medical diagnosis. Unfortunately, non-epileptic seizures are regarded more skeptically than epileptic seizures, particularly because they are associated with mental health issues and occur more often in women than men. These facts can create a stigma around this medical concern and may prevent people who suffer from non-epileptic seizures from getting the medical help they need.
Getting a proper diagnosis is important to your long-term disability claim. When you have a seizure, your treating doctor will test you for epilepsy by running an electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG test looks for electrical activity in your brain. The test can detect unusual spikes in electrical brain activity, suggesting that you suffer from epilepsy. Unfortunately, if you suffer from non-epileptic seizures, this test will not show any unusual electrical brain activity.
This is part of what makes collecting disability benefits for non-epileptic seizures so difficult. Your insurance carrier will want objective proof that you have a covered medical condition that prevents you from performing the important duties of your occupation. If you cannot assemble properly this medical evidence, the insurance company may deny your claim. The EEG can detect and provide objective evidence of epileptic seizures, but non-epileptic seizures have myriad, of other potential causes that can be difficult to identify.
Collecting long-term disability insurance benefits for non-epileptic seizures should be easier. Insurance companies purposefully make it difficult to timely collect your legitimate disability claim. Those suffering from non-epileptic seizures may need more help on their side to collect the disability insurance benefits they deserve. If you already received a claim denial for non-epileptic seizures, you have limited time to file your administrative appeal, if you have group/employer-sponsored long-term disability coverage, please contact an experienced long-term group disability lawyer as soon as possible.