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To get social security (government assistance) as a seizure patient you must meet four requirements (1). For the purposes of this discussion, you only really need to be aware of two of them.

One: “We (the government) decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s).” Also, in the case of grand mal seizures, you have to have more than one seizure a month (2) and/or petite mals must occur more than once a day (ibid).

A seizure patient will lose his or her right to drive after each and every seizure for six months to two years, depending on which state he or she lives in. Even a relatively well-controlled person who only has a seizure once a year or so will not really be able to legally drive to work, according to the government, and will have to resort to public transportation — even if that person lives in an area without decent public transportation. Almost half (forty five percent) of the United State does not have access to public transportation (4).

Does the government then give you assistance to pay for the cab that you have to take in order to get to work? Of course not. Their stance is that you need to move. You need to take your kids out of school and relocate somewhere in that half of the country where public transportation exists.

So what really happens to the twenty-to-thirty percent of uncontrolled epileptics (3) who do not have access to public transportation? That’s 600,000 to 900,000 people. I’ll tell you what they do. They drive. They become criminals, since that’s how the government sees those of us who drive after a breakthrough seizure. Those of us who drive to work to feed our families are forced, by our own government, to break the law.

It’s easy to be lofty about this statement and go on about how dangerous it is. Even I can speak very philosophically about it. “You should know better.” But we have children to feed. We have families. We certainly need to put food on the table and roofs over our heads. We are sick people, abandoned by our government and told that there is no help coming. If we try and follow the rules we will be thrown in jail like Armando Arias Gonzalez Jr.

But our government cannot have it both ways. Either you are allowed to drive or you are not. Either you can physically work or you cannot. Either you have your government’s blessing to go forth and enjoy the blessings of liberty or you do not. Do not force Coach Jerry Kill to quit coaching for having the audacity to have epilepsy with articles that say, “No one…should be rewarded with the sight of a middle-aged man writhing on the ground” and then act like your are doing all you can for epileptic community. You’re not. You are hiding us in a corner. You have abandoned us to our own devices.

As an epileptic I want to work. I do work. But what do I do every time I have a breakthrough seizure? I am certainly not going to quit my job and yank my kids out of school just because the government says I can’t drive for two years. And if the government expects me to stop, they had better change the regulations regarding social security and feed my kids for me until they say I can drive again. They had better pay for the cabs to work because those cabs cost more than I actually bring in.

Of course no one is going to do that. What they are going to do is send me a letter saying that I am capable of “other work” like they did to Jerry Kill because none of these politicians know what it’s like to actually like to fall down.

1 – http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dqualify4.htm
2 – http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/11.00-Neurological-Adult.htm#11_02
3 – http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Epilepsy.aspx
4 – http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/transit/


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