Is Lupus a Disability?
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), lupus does qualify as a disability if all conditions are met. Your lupus must affect two or more organs or body systems with severe symptoms in at least one. You must also display at least 2 signs of symptoms, which can include severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss.
Are There Other Ways You Can Qualify for SSD with Lupus?
Another way you can qualify for SSD is by having repeated episodes, or “manifestations” of lupus with at least 2 of the symptoms above and one of the following:
- Limitations of activities of daily living
- Limitation in social functioning
- Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits With Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can interrupt multiple body systems and take away your ability to work. The condition can affect almost any organ in your body and lead to a variety of disabling symptoms. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, about 1.5 million people live with lupus in the United States alone.
People with lupus often experience pain and extreme fatigue. They can also suffer from hair loss, heart and kidney disease, and physical and cognitive impairments that affect every aspect of their lives.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), if you have severe lupus symptoms, you may be unable to work or maintain full-time, gainful employment, meaning lupus is considered to be a disability.
The Cost of Lupus
On average, people with lupus spend about $33,223 on healthcare each year and lose between $1,252 and $20,046 in lost hours of economic productivity. Additionally, 2/3 people with lupus report a complete or partial loss of income because they are unable to work due to complications of the disease.
All these estimates (from the Lupus Foundation of America) are higher among people with lupus nephritis and more severe or active lupus.
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can help relieve the costs of lupus when you are unable to work, ensuring you can pay your bills, afford your medical care, and keep up with everyday living expenses.
Is Lupus a Disability According to the SSA?
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is listed in the Immune System Disorders section of the SSA Blue Book.
Having lupus can make it impossible to get out of bed, perform errands in the house, and even spend time with your loved ones – much less maintain a full-time job.
If you can demonstrate how lupus affects your life in accordance with SSA guidelines, you should also be eligible for SSD.
The Application Process
When you apply for SSD benefits, you may need to fill out questionnaires about your illness or prove that your lupus meets Blue Book requirements. In either situation, you will need to provide medical evidence, including:
- A lupus diagnosis (and diagnostic tests that rule out other conditions)
- Reports from your doctor (recording symptoms, complications, and treatment)
- Records of treatment lasting 3 or more months (treatment lasting 12 months is better)
- Evidence of any hospitalizations and prescriptions
- Test results or lab work that shows the complications of your condition
Gathering all this evidence and presenting it in a way that pleases the SSA can be difficult, but Nolan & Shafer PLC can help.
What If My Claim Was Denied?
Having your SSD claim denied can be discouraging, but you shouldn’t give up! Most people have their claim denied on their first try, but that doesn’t mean they are not eligible for benefits.
If your claim is denied, you may have to testify in front of an administrative law judge and prepare the evidence in your case for an appellate hearing.
This process can be nerve-racking, but our Social Security Disability lawyer can help you get through it. We will help you compile and organize your medical records – and prepare for any questions the administrative law judge may ask.