New York City is known as the “City that Never Sleeps,” but for area residents that suffer from a severe sleep disorder, this is not something to celebrate. People with sleep disorders are often discriminated against and derided as lazy because healthy sleepers just don’t understand what it is like to be so sleep deprived you literally cannot function.
Fortunately, the federal government is more open-minded. People with severe sleep disorders are eligible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits — either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) depending on their circumstances.
This pamphlet from the Social Security Administration (SSA) tells the story of a woman named Shirley who was diagnosed with narcolepsy, a chronic disorder related to circadian rhythms that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. She was able to apply for disability benefits, seek various medical treatments until she found a regimen that helped, and eventually return to the workforce through the SSA’s Ticket to Work Program.
Social Security Disability Benefits and Sleep Disorders
Narcolepsy is not the only sleep disorder that may impact your life so much you are no longer able to work. It is also possible to seek disability benefits if you suffer from:
- Sleep Apnea;
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS);
- Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome (PLMS);
- Sleep walking; or
- Night Terrors.
As with any disability claim, the government will likely need more than a diagnosis from your doctor to approve your claim. The focus is not on the diagnosis, but on the impact the disease or illness has on your daily life and your ability to work. Disability benefits are only available to people the government determines are too disabled to work.
Depending on your symptoms, the government may consider your sleep disorder a mental disorder or a respiratory disorder. Either classification may help you qualify for benefits. It is also likely that your sleep disorder has caused additional health problems, or is the result of an underlying health issue. For example, many people with sleep disorders also suffer from depression and/or anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Seelig Law Offices can help you gather the evidence you need to support your claim for disability benefits, and craft the strongest application for benefits possible.
If your initial claim has been denied, do not be discouraged. Very few applicants are awarded disability benefits on their initial application alone. Appealing a denial is a standard part of the claims process. Our firm can assist you with an appeal even if we did not assist you with your initial claim.
If you or someone you love is suffering from a severe sleep disorder that prevents you from working, the Seelig Law Group is here to help. We have assisted hundreds of New York City residents with their disability benefits claims and appeals. Please contact our office to schedule your free initial consultation.