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Insomnia and SSA Disability Benefits

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Can I get SSI or SSDI for insomnia?

Before applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) it is important to consider if you meet the most basic requirements: is your condition expected to last for 12 continuous months, is your condition severe, is your condition on the SSA Listing of Impairments, are you seeing a doctor, and have you followed your doctor’s treatment plan.

According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia is a disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or both. Claimants with insomnia may sleep but when they wake they continue to feel fatigued and do not have enough energy to perform work functions or their normal daily activities. Insomnia can be moderate to severe and claimants can experience any of the following symptoms:

There are a variety of causes for insomnia, but the most common can include depression, anxiety, stress, side-effects of medication, environmental stressors, other medical conditions and caffeine or alcohol.

Severe insomnia can lead to increased illness as the immune system’s ability to fight disease and infection is reduced. It can also cause a lack of energy to perform well at school or at work, increased risk of mental health disorders, weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Winning SSDI or SSI for Insomnia

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two methods of determining if a claimant is disabled and qualifies for SSI or SSDI: is their impairment on the SSA Listing of Impairments (which is a list of all the conditions and symptoms the SSA considers automatically disabling) or is their condition so severe it leaves the claimant without the residual functional capacity to perform their current job, past work or retrain for new work. This process is called a medical vocational allowance.

Unfortunately, insomnia is not listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments so claimants must have enough medical evidence to prove that it leaves them without the ability to work.

Proving disability through a medical vocational allowance

As stated above, your condition would have to be VERY severe. Additionally, the SSA would expect that you have tried numerous treatment options: cognitive control and psychotherapy, sleep education, changing your lifestyle, stimulus control therapy, and relaxation training and medication.

The SSA would also evaluate how long you have suffered from this condition and how it has affected your ability to work. For instance, have you been fired from multiple jobs? Has your condition caused injury? Have you lost your driver’s license?

The SSA would also evaluate whether you have developed another severe condition from your insomnia. For instance, if you have had insomnia and developed severe depression, high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease each of these conditions could be severe enough that you might be awarded SSI or SSDI for them on their own merit or in conjunction with all of your other health conditions.

Honestly, it will be difficult to prove that insomnia and fatigue by themselves are severe enough to not allow you to work any type of job. Contact a disability lawyer for more information.
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