Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder. Its best-known symptom is excessive sleepiness in the daytime. People in the Charlotte area with narcolepsy can fall asleep at virtually any time. Other symptoms include hallucinations, changes in REM sleep, sleep paralysis and, in some cases, sudden loss of muscle tone (known as cataplexy).
Because patients can have great difficulty staying awake during the day, it can make working and earning an income very difficult. Nevertheless, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not automatically grant Social Security Disability benefits based on a diagnosis of narcolepsy because the condition is not on the agency’s list of qualified disorders. But this does not mean that your narcolepsy is not a disability or that you cannot be granted SSD benefits to make up for your lost income.
To qualify for SSD based on a narcolepsy diagnosis, you must meet these criteria:
You will also have to provide detailed medical information in your application. Typically, you will need to describe your symptoms, when they began, the tests your doctor conducted, and the medications you are on. Your doctor should also provide a letter detailing how narcolepsy affects your ability to work.
An SSD claim for narcolepsy or another condition not on the SSA’s list of qualified disorders can be complicated. But it can still be successful, or you can prevail on appeal. Your best chance of obtaining benefits is to work with an experienced SSD attorney.