Disability Benefits Can Ease the Burden Insomnia Has Created for You
Chronic insomnia is generally acknowledged as the inability to maintain sleep for a minimum of three nights a week, for at least one consecutive month. For people who suffer from chronic insomnia, the effects can be devastating. This condition can cause a decrease in reaction time, lowered performance at work, a weakened immune system and an increase in the severity of long-term illnesses such as high blood pressure
It’s also worth noting that there are actually two types of chronic insomnia. Primary insomnia occurs when this condition isn’t directly linked to another health problem. Even though primary insomnia isn’t caused by another health issue, it can still cause unwanted symptoms like decreased memory, tension headaches, constipation and even depression.
Secondary insomnia refers to a case of chronic insomnia that is directly linked to another health condition. Menopause, anxiety, and Parkinson’s disease are all examples of conditions that can cause secondary insomnia. People who deal with chronic pain from back and joint problems and fibromyalgia also often suffer from secondary insomnia.
Because sleep plays such a crucial role in short- and long-term well-being, either form of chronic insomnia can make it difficult for sufferers to function. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, you may have difficulty performing the tasks expected of you at work. In fact, chronic insomnia can be so bad that you’re unable to maintain a job. In that case, you may need disability in order to take care of your basic financial needs.
How Does the SSA View Insomnia Claims?
If you hope to receive insomnia disability in the form of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it’s important to understand how your claim will be assessed. The Social Security Administration uses a Residual Functional Capacity determination to assess both the mental and physical abilities of disability applicants.
Because insomnia can cause mental issues like fatigue, memory and concentration problems, as well as physical problems like tension headaches, SSA must assess both your mental and physical Residual Functional Capacity. However, just because your insomnia disability results in severe mental and physical limitations for you, that doesn’t mean your SSDI or SSI claim will be immediately approved. Statistics show that the SSA denies approximately 70% of claims the first time they are filed.
Denied Disability for Insomnia?
If you have been denied either SSDI or SSI for insomnia, it may be because you have not been able to establish just how much insomnia is affecting your day-to-day life and your ability to perform work duties. If your insomnia is caused by an underlying disorder, you may not have established the disorder with adequate medical evidence.
One of the challenges with securing insomnia disability benefits is that there are no specific tests for insomnia, especially in cases where it is not caused by an underlying condition. You will need to report symptoms and have them confirmed by a doctor, using medical records to establish the severity of the sleep disorder.
Another challenge which may cause you to get denied disability is the fact that insomnia has changing symptoms. You may be able to sleep for some time, only to have chronic insomnia return. To qualify for benefits, you will generally need to establish you have insomnia for at least three nights a week and for at least one week of the month over a longer period of time.
If you have been denied benefits for insomnia, you still have options. You can appeal the decision and submit additional evidence of your claim. If you have been denied benefits, contact a disability attorney such as the office of Lisa M. Ritacco. The law office of Lisa M. Ritacco will take the time to listen and talk with you about your denial and may be able to strengthen your claim to improve your chances of benefits.
Proving Eligibility for Insomnia Disability Benefits
If you wish to prove your eligibility for insomnia disability benefits, you will need to establish your medical condition and provide evidence of how the condition has affected your ability to work and care for yourself. To establish your medical condition, visit and work with sleep disorder specialists as well as any specialists who can address underlying issues related to your insomnia. Medical records and treatment histories from sleep disorder specialists may be more complete and may carry more weight than records from general practitioners.
In addition, you will want to keep careful records of your insomnia. Record when it occurs, any treatment you have undergone, symptoms you have experienced and how long the insomnia lasts. Being able to quantify the severity of the insomnia can help establish how severe the condition is. In addition, keeping records of time missed at work because of your insomnia can help establish how much the condition is affecting your work life.
If you have an underlying condition affecting your insomnia, you will want to ensure your condition meets the requirements for those conditions, which may be listed in the Blue Book including mental disorders in Section 12, digestive problems in Sections 5.02, 5.06 and 5.07 and heart disease in Sections 4.02 and 4.04.
If you are having trouble proving your eligibility for disability, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco for a consultation. The law office of Lisa M. Ritacco focuses exclusively on disability benefits and workers’ compensation, so you can work with someone with an extensive understanding of this practice area.
It’s Possible to Build a Successful Disability Case Around Your Insomnia
Since winning an insomnia disability claim can be a challenge, one of the key strategies is framing your case in the context of other problems that are causing the insomnia or being created by it. Highlighting those problems will increase your odds of becoming one of the 60% of claims that are eventually approved after an initial denial.
Don’t Wait to Take Action
Whether your claim has already been denied or you haven’t actually filed yet, you can learn even more about how this process works and what steps will put you in the strongest position by contacting lawyer Lisa M. Ritacco for a no-obligation initial consultation.
For more information on Insomnia visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.