Social Security Disability Application Process with Narcolepsy

Posted by on Aug 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

By Lisa Giorgetti

social-security-programsIf your narcolepsy interferes with your ability to work, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are several ways to qualify for these benefits:

  • Matching a listing corresponding to your condition in the SSA’s Blue Book.
  • Equaling the listing for another condition.
  • Through a medical vocational allowance.

In order to qualify, the SSA must first consider you disabled with a long-term condition. The SSA utilizes its Blue Book to determine which conditions are eligible, as it’s a guidebook of all disabling medical conditions and what symptoms you need to have in order to meet the requirements.

While there’s no Blue Book listing specifically for narcolepsy, many people with the condition are able to qualify under Section 11.03, Non-convulsive Epilepsy. This listing requires:

  • Evidence of narcoleptic events happening more than once each week.
  • The events persist despite at least three months of treatment.
  • You are unable to perform daily activities as well.

You will need to supply any medical records that demonstrate that your case fits the parameters. This could mean doctors’ notes, records of medical visits, and proof of any treatments for narcolepsy. A diagnosis will help, but this alone will not be enough to qualify.

In addition, you will need to select one of the two main disability benefits programs offered by the SSA:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is intended for working adults who have become disabled. You will need to provide a substantial employment record demonstrating that you have worked long enough to qualify.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), geared to those with low income, requires that individuals submit their finances for evaluation. You have to meet the specified asset and income limits set by the SSA in order to qualify.

When you’re ready to start the application, you may begin by filling out the forms online or in person at an SSA Office. Bring all of the medical and financial documentation required of you. Expect to wait a month or longer for a decision. If you’re denied, there’s an appeals process that must be initiated within 60 days.

If you get stuck, there are disability advocates you can hire to help prepare and present your claim. The application process may seem confusing, but the benefits provided are well worth the effort.


Lisa GiorgettiLisa Giorgetti is a Community Liaison at Social Security Disability Help
[email protected]



If you think your or a loved one might have narcolepsy, learn more about symptoms and treatment at


  1. dawn
    August 12, 2014

    I am calling foul on this. I have been denied, denied, denied for not just Narcolepsy, but Narcolepsy with Cataplexy which is dangerously disabling unto itself. I also have uncontrolled diabetes and other health issues including asthma, full body neuropathy, among others. I have been fighting for disability since 2010 and so far all I’ve gotten is the most bizarre reasons for denial such as, ‘you should be able to adapt to lighter work that does not include driving, unprotected heights, condensed exposure to wetness, or to be able to obtain employment at any post office as a letter sorter, and my favourite… basically told that since I am able to ‘shower alone’ and pick up coins during my court ordered exam, I should have no problem finding other employment.

    Really? REALLY? Would YOU hire someone who is a potential dangerous situation not only to herself but to her co-workers? Would YOU hire someone who is unable to drive outside of a five mile radius of her home? Would YOU hire someone who cannot promise to be able to work every day, be able to get up for work every day, be able to stay awake for an entire shift? be able to promise to not have a cataplexy attack in the middle of a shift, or several? or during lunch, or rush hour? or at your cash register or while sorting your mail? I suppose I should be able to find good employment at a fountain picking up coins that are thrown my way by passersby.

    Narcolepsy is not considered a ‘true’ disability which is ludicrous, it is terribly disabling and we who suffer from it. know the truth of how disabling and cruel it can be to us and to those we love.

    I’ve been a Narcoleptic now since I was in HS. I’ve suffered and dealt and conformed and worked as best I could but now with the diabetes and the full blown neuropathy, I am no longer able to work FT, or PT. I work now 2-4 days a MONTH and those take a horrible toll on my health. I end up in bed for the next three days after working just one in full body pain and agony. The only reason I am still there is b/c I’ve been there now for almost 20years and my boss feels sorry for me and lets me stay on there. Even she has told me that were I to come to her now for a job, she would not hire me and I don’t blame her but I should have NO problem finding employment elsewhere. Bologna.

    I am on my last filing. Now, I again have to go before a Judge and hope and pray that s/he decides that yes, I AM disabled enough to qualify for something I’ve paid into since I started working at fourteen years old and yet never once hoped to ever have to ask for a dime of it back. Having to be humiliated and tap dance and beg for something I never wanted is beyond shameful and it makes me feel more useless and worthless than not being able to work anymore does and THAT.. is sad.

    October 9, 2014

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  3. CapeCoralDad
    May 12, 2015


    My story is very Similar to yours. I have suffered from Narcolepsy with Catalepsy since High School Also, I feel asleep driving around 5 years ago and lost my Job/career and have been fighting for SSD every Since. I have been Denied Denied Denied. I have 2-3 Sleep attacks per Day and am tired all the Time. Just keeping my Eyes open is a Challenge most Days. I am wondering if you have had your Hearing with the ALJ and how did it go for you? Mine is coming up soon and looking to network with other People with Narcolepsy to discuss how the Hearing went and what questions to expect? Sincerely



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