Can I Receive Disability Benefits Based on my Sleep Disorder?

Posted July 15, 2016 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

There are numerous sleep disorders that can be disabling. Narcolepsy, insomnia, and sleep apnea are just a few sleep disorders that we often see our claimants suffering from on a daily basis. The symptoms associated with sleep disorders can vary depending on the conditions, its severity, and the medications used to treat the disorder. In evaluating a claimant’s allegation of a disabling sleep disorder, SSA will review the medical evidence to determine what limitations these conditions would cause on basic work activities.

The most common symptoms we see associated with sleep disorders are fatigue, cognitive limitations, falling asleep unexpectedly, and emotional instability due to a lack of sleep. All of these symptoms can cause limitations that are disabling if they are determined to be severe enough. For example, a claimant with narcolepsy who is expected to struggle with drifting in and out of sleep throughout the day may not be able to meet the production standards for any competitive employment. In addition, a claimant suffering from severe sleep apnea or insomnia may experience disruptions in sleep or may not sleep at all. This person’s level of fatigue and/or irritability may render them incapable of following instructions or interacting appropriately in a work setting.

If you are suffering from a sleep disorder that prevents you from working, it is important to keep in mind that Social Security will require medical documentation regarding the severity of your condition. Sleep studies and other objective tests are often crucial to prove the severity of these conditions. It is also a good idea to speak with your doctor about completing a written statement detailing their opinion on your specific work related limitations. Finally, it is always prudent to consider hiring an experienced representative who understands the level of proof needed to establish disability for these types of claims.

By: Thomas Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®