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Is Narcolepsy Considered A Disability?

Narcolepsy is the condition that may prevent the patient from effectively doing his work. Because of narcolepsy, the productivity level of the person gets reduced and he may be qualified for disability benefits due to narcolepsy.

Is Narcolepsy Considered A Disability?

Is Narcolepsy Considered A Disability?

Narcolepsy is a condition in which the patient experiences sudden sleeping episodes in the day time and may also have long term drowsiness during the day time. The condition is characterized by excessive day time sleepiness. Narcolepsy may reduce the capacity of working. However, just being diagnosed with narcolepsy does not put the patient in the category of disabled1. Evidence is required to prove that the person is not able to accept full-time work. Narcolepsy is considered as a disability when the disease negatively impacts the quality of life and prevents patients from effectively doing their job.

According to an estimate, the people losing their job because of day time sleep during their job due to narcolepsy were 36% to 52%. 59% of patients suffering from narcolepsy were unemployed. Narcolepsy seriously affects the performance, promotion, fear of losing jobs or actually losing it and capacity to earn2.

As far as this driving ability is concerned, the capacity of narcoleptic patients was far more impaired as compared to the normal individual as well as people suffering from sleep apnea. Narcoleptic patients, with the poorly managed disease, pose a threat to life for themselves and others.

There are no criteria for disability in many countries despite the fact that narcolepsy severely affects job performance. Further, the extent of severity on the basis of a measuring scale is lacking.

The Social Security Administration provides financial benefits to the disabled people who are no longer in a position to take up a full-time job. Two major programs set up by the Social Security Administration are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)3.

For qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance, the patient should be held disabled by Social Security Administration. A thorough analysis of the narcoleptic patient is done, both medically and non-medically to categorize the patient into disabled and non-disabled. Work credits are another important parameter to be assessed for qualifying the patient to be disabled.

The person in severe financial needs can opt for Supplemental Security Income. Work credits are not a mandatory parameter for this scheme. Different parameters related to income are accessed prior to providing benefits under this scheme. This scheme also required to be categorized as a person as disabled.

Evidence Required For Narcolepsy As Disability

Medical and non-medical evidence is required for qualifying narcolepsy as a disability for a particular patient. Residual Functional Capacity of the patient is evaluated. This evaluation helps in identifying the extent and severity of narcolepsy. Residual Functional Capacity is important medical evidence which is useful in qualifying the patient as disabled. Apart from it, various tests could be done on the brain or information can be assessed on family history related to sleep disorders1. Doctor’s recommendations are very helpful in proving your case of narcolepsy for disability benefits. You may ask your doctor to write about duration and time period of narcolepsy, medications, effects and side effects, and lists of activities you can no longer perform such as driving or working on heavy machines etc3.

When the doctor recommends that you have a severe case of narcolepsy and it has negatively impacted your quality of life, chances are high that you may be qualified for disability benefits.

The patient should, in detail, provide information as to how narcolepsy has prevented him from doing various functions. In general cases, the patient may be qualified for disability benefits under narcolepsy when he proves that productivity level has been reduced by 20% due to narcolepsy1.


People with narcolepsy are not automatically qualified for disability benefits. The patient has to qualify on the basis of various parameters suggested by the Social Security Administration. It is suggested to hire a disability lawyer for your disease. Narcolepsy reduces performance, promotion and earning of the patient.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 23, 2023

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