More than 1.5 million people are suffering from this chronic health condition. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that may affect different parts of the body. When it causes limitations to their work and performance, the individual can consider seeking disability benefits for lupus. The Social Security Administration (SSA) awarded 5.9 million new applicants with disability benefits in 2019. When your condition is critical and meets all of the criteria set forth by the SSA, there is a good chance that you can be approved for Social Security disability benefits. Here is a brief guide to help you understand the eligibility criteria and the process of applying for disability benefits for lupus.
What is lupus?
Before we talk about the criteria for lupus disability benefits, it is important to understand what Lupus is. What are the common symptoms that most people suffering from this condition experience?
Lupus is a long-term autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation throughout the body. The body’s immune system becomes hyperactive, and in serious cases, it can affect the body’s different organs. It is essential to understand that lupus is a lifelong disease with no cure available at present. The treatment prescribed by your medical professional may help reduce the symptoms. However, the condition will never go away, so many people apply for Social Security disability benefits for lupus.
The condition is more common in women than in men. When a woman is diagnosed with the condition, they may also experience heart disease and osteoporosis. It may even attack healthy cells and tissues, causing damage to different parts of the body.
Here are some of the common symptoms that people diagnosed with this condition experience:
● Swelling in joints
● Pain in muscles
● Fever with no actual cause
● Hair loss
● Red rash
● Chest pain
● Purple fingers
● Sensitivity to the sun
● Kidney inflammation
● Pulmonary issues
The symptoms and severity of the condition may vary from person to person.
Is lupus considered a disability that can qualify for Social Security benefits?
Lupus qualifies as a disability, and it is listed in Section 14 (Immune system disorders) of the SSA’s bluebook. Therefore, a person suffering from this condition can seek disability benefits when the situation is causing limitations. You must also have medical evidence to prove that the disability is the reason behind your limitations.
If you are suffering from any other medical condition in addition to lupus, you must mention that in the application form, as well. Be sure to have your medical practitioner provide any necessary documentation and records so you can submit them along with your application.
Listing requirements for Lupus
To get approved for disability benefits for lupus, you must meet the disability listing. Here are the conditions that you must fulfill to get the disability benefits:
You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits when the condition affects at least two body organs, such as the kidney, heart, brain, or lungs.
You must experience at least two of the following symptoms related to lupus:
● Low physical and mental activity
● Involuntary weight loss
● Malaise (physical discomfort)
The above-mentioned criteria are the first set of criteria that apply to children, teenagers, and adults diagnosed with lupus.
Alternatively, your condition must result in the following limitations:
● Limitation to interact socially and maintain relationships
● Limitation in completing the tasks and concentrating
● Limitation in completing daily life activities
The limitations that come under the second set of criteria will apply only to adults. You must meet all of the required criteria to be eligible and get approved for disability benefits. In addition to this, your condition must have lasted for at least 12 months and be expected to be long-term.
Medical evidence required to get disability benefits for Lupus
The American College of Rheumatology has listed out certain guidelines in its “Criteria for the Classification of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus”. The list has 11 criteria for a lupus diagnosis. Out of these, an applicant must experience at least four of them. The criteria listed are as follows:
● Discoid rash
● Malar rash
● Oral ulcers
● Renal disorder
● Hematologic disorder
● Antinuclear antibody
● Immunologic disorder
● Neurologic disorder
You must have medical treatment documentation, electrocardiography, and blood test reports to show that you are suffering from this condition.
An individual may still be eligible if they do not meet the medical listing for the condition. The Social Security Administration will use the residual functional capacity (RFC) to determine the severity of your condition. They will evaluate the limitations caused due to lupus and whether an affected person is able to work or not.
An individual suffering from lupus may experience a host of physical and mental limitations. You should seek proper treatment for your condition and get the RFC addressed by your healthcare provider. The notes from the doctor and people who are close to you can play a critical role in determining your eligibility. You can even ask your past employees to write a detailed note explaining how the disability affected your ability to perform at work.
To commence the application, you must start by completing the application form, which can be lengthy and requires a lot of details. You should consider consulting disability lawyers in Texas to help you with the process. They can ensure that your application form is complete and error-free. The lawyer can also assist you and communicate with the Social Security Office on your behalf. In case of appeals and trials, the lawyer can assist you and represent you in court if necessary. Be sure that you meet the conditions listed above to improve your chances of getting approved for disability benefits for lupus.