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    Is Epilepsy a Disability? Eligibility For Financial Support

    Wondering if epilepsy is a disability in Canada? Here’s everything you should know.

    Epilepsy is a neurological condition marked by recurring or episodic seizures caused by surges of electrical activity in the brain.  Doctors may make the diagnosis of epilepsy if you’ve had two or more unprovoked seizures.  

    Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological condition in the world. Some who live with epilepsy can go on to live totally normal and productive lives, while others may be profoundly affected. 

    In Canada, those who are profoundly affected, or “markedly restricted”, by a health condition may be eligible for disability support such as the Disability Tax Credit. 

    Now, you may wonder if epilepsy is a disability recognized by the Canadian government. In this article, we’ll discuss this often confusing topic and offer guidance to those living with epilepsy.

    1 in 100 Canadians Live With Epilepsy 

    This neurological condition is more common than you might think. In Canada, around 300,000 people live with this seizure disorder. 

    Every day an average of 54 people learn that they have epilepsy. 

    But what is it?

    Those who live with this condition know that seizures involve a temporary and sudden temporary burst of brain activity. This brain activity may cause the body to move involuntarily or may cause changes to sensation, behavior, or awareness.

    Anyone can have a seizure, but not every seizure is caused by epilepsy. 

    To meet the diagnosis criteria of epilepsy, your seizures must be “unprovoked” or not caused by a medical illness or an acute trauma. 

    30% of People Don’t Respond To Treatment 

    Epilepsy is a very treatable condition. 70% of people diagnosed with epilepsy respond well to treatment and gain freedom from seizures by taking medication. 

    However, according to the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance, 30% do not respond to treatment. This is called drug-resistant epilepsy. 

    Seizures can be triggered for a number of different reasons, and are often unpredictable for those with drug-resistant epilepsy.  Living with an uncontrolled seizure disorder can be extremely disabling.  

    Is Epilepsy A Disability? 

    Yes. Regardless of how one responds to treatment, epilepsy is a recognized disability in Canada. 

    However, when it comes to disability support from the Canadian government, the criteria are a bit trickier than simply having a diagnosis. 

    This is because people are affected to varying degrees. While one person with epilepsy is not restricted in their daily tasks, another person might be so restricted that they can’t be left alone.

    For instance, those who are living with epilepsy may qualify for Disability Tax Credit (DTC) only if they meet disability criteria such as: 

    • You must have a severe mental or physical impairment
    • This impairment must affect you 90% of the time
    • The impairment must be prolonged and last longer than 1 year
    • This impairment must affect your ability to perform basic tasks 
    • For example: taking 3x longer than the average person to perform tasks 
    • Marked restrictions on the ability to walk, feed, or dress 
    • You must have a medical practitioner certifying the above

    Yes, epilepsy is a disability in Canada, but gaining access to disability services like the DTC is based on prolonged restriction and the ability to prove the impairment. 

    Epilepsy & Qualifying for Disability Tax Credit

    If you or someone you love suffers from epilepsy, you may be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit and a large refund from the Canadian Revenue Agency. 

    Navigating disability services can be stressful and confusing. Many deserving folks are denied sizable refunds because their applications did not meet expectations simply due to word choice etc. Working with a Disability Tax Credit expert like True North Disability may improve your chances of approval. 

    If you are among Canadians who live and struggle with the restrictions epilepsy poses to your life, reach out to us for a free DTC consultation. We’re here to lend a helping hand. 

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