Knowing Your Resources
Coping with a chronic disorder, such as epilepsy, is difficult. It means calling upon your internal determination and your personal finances. You don't have to do it alone. You also can call upon helpful government programs as well as the resources of the Epilepsy Foundation.
Patient Assistance Programs
There are programs available that can help with the cost of medications. Read more>>
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employers (except the federal government) who have 15 or more workers. The act says that the employer must make a "reasonable accommodation" to allow people with disabilities to do their jobs. However, an accommodation must not place an "undue hardship" on the employer.
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) can provide expertise in the area of employment and reasonable accommodation. JAN is a free consulting service operated by the U.S. Department of Labor. You can reach JAN at (800) 526-7234 or by visiting their website.
- Another source of information about job accommodation is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) website.
Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers with 50 or more workers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees who are coping with certain family or medical situations. If you take this leave to care for yourself or a family member during a serious illness, you can take the leave in small increments or altogether.
To be eligible for the leave, an employee must:
- have worked for a covered employer (typically, a "covered" employer means a private-sector employer; most government workers are not eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act)
- have worked for a total of 12 months
- have worked more than 1,250 hours during the past 12 months
SSI and SSDI
The Social Security Administration has two programs that may provide a monthly income if you, or your child, are disabled: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). To qualify for these programs, you must meet the government's very narrow definition of disability. For further information about these programs and the government's definition of disability, see our government assistance page or visit Social Security online.
You can file for SSI or SSDI by telephone at (800) 772-1213, in person, or through the mail. The Social Security website can help you find the office that is closest to you.Be prepared to wait. It usually takes a long time (6 months to a year) for a decision on claim approval. If your initial claim is denied--which often happens--you can request an appeal. Your local Social Security Administration office can give you a list of legal advocates who either do not charge a fee or charge a reduced fee to dispute a claim denial.