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Receiving Disability Benefits for Lupus
You could qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you have a physical impairment, such as lupus, that hinders your ability to work or to perform daily tasks. Lupus and disability benefits can be obtained if your condition prevents you from working and you have sufficient work credits and meet the income requirements. There are strict SSA requirements for both physical and mental impairments, using impairment listings. These listings detail impairments that qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Obtaining SSD benefits is rarely as simple or straightforward as you might think. Having an experienced Social Security disability attorney from Carmichael Law Group by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your application and/or subsequent appeals. At Carmichael Law Group, our focus is exclusively on Social Security disability benefits. Since SSDI is a nationwide program, we can help you regardless of where you live. We will use our experience, knowledge, and skills to help you receive the benefits you need and deserve.
Along with a five-step review process and the determination of whether your condition falls under one of the accepted impairment listings, SSDI will look at how much of an impact your condition has on your life and your ability to work. Your attorney from Carmichael Law Group will skillfully tell your story so that it carries more weight than simply meeting an impairment listing.
Social Security does not pay for partial disability or short-term disability—only total disability. SSA determines whether you are disabled by asking the following five questions:
- Are you currently working? If you are working, and you are consistently making more than $1,310 per month, you will probably not be considered disabled.
- Does your disability prevent you from performing basic work-related activities (walking, standing, sitting, remembering)? In short, is your condition considered “severe?”
- Does your disabling medical condition meet or equal the severity of a listing found in the Blue Book list of medical conditions?
- Are you able to do the work you did prior to your disability?
- Can you make an adjustment to do any other type of work?
What Is Lupus?
Lupus occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. As an inflammatory disease, lupus can affect the heart, lungs, brain, blood cells, kidneys, skin, and joints. There is no cure for lupus; treatments focus on improving quality of life through minimizing flare-ups and controlling symptoms. Medications, including anti-inflammatories and steroids, can help manage lupus symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms associated with lupus include:
- Unusual, chronic fatigue
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Shortness of breath
- Memory loss
- Chest pain
- Fingers and toes that turn blue during high-stress periods or when exposed to the cold
- Skin lesions that worsen with exposure to the sun
- A butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the bridge of the nose and the cheeks
- Rashes elsewhere on the body
- Chronic headaches
Lupus causes your immune system to attack healthy tissue and is most likely a product of the environment and genetics, although in most cases, the cause of lupus is unknown. Triggers for lupus can include sunlight, infections, or certain medications, including antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and anti-seizure medications. Lupus is more common among women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and those between the ages of 15 and 45.
The inflammation associated with lupus can affect other areas of your body, causing kidney damage, kidney failure, vertigo, changes in behavior, vision problems, strokes, seizures, anemia, an increased risk of bleeding or blood clotting, inflammation of the lungs, bleeding into the lungs, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart muscle, heart attack, and other cardiovascular issues. Those with lupus have an increased risk of bone tissue death, cancer, infection, and pregnancy complications.
Is Lupus a Disability Under Social Security Disability Rules?
Lupus is considered an SSA disability and is listed in the SSA impairment listings under Immune System Disorders. In order to qualify for lupus disability benefits, you must have at least two body systems or organs that are affected by the disease. You must have also experienced signs and symptoms like fatigue, fever, and weight loss on a consistent basis.
Your lupus symptoms must make it difficult or impossible to function socially, complete tasks within a reasonable time frame, or keep up with daily activities such as cleaning, cooking, running errands, bathing, and getting dressed. Even if you do not meet the functional restrictions criteria—i.e., you can still take care of yourself—if you cannot work full time because of your lupus you may still be entitled to disability benefits (An example of this would be if you need kidney dialysis twice a week as a result of your lupus).
Most of those with severe or advanced systemic lupus can easily satisfy the requirements set forth in the SSA impairment listings. If you cannot, you could be able to prove your disability via a residual functional capacity analysis. To be approved through an RFC, you must be able to show that your lupus symptoms prevent you from working even in a job that is primarily sedentary.
Providing Proof for Lupus and Disability Benefits
When seeking lupus and disability benefits, the following medical evidence may be required:
- The specific prescription medications you take for your lupus, including how those medications affect your lupus symptoms and whether there are side effects from the medications
- Diagnostic test results that rule out other medical conditions that could potentially mimic lupus
- Reports from your doctor that include your reported symptoms, any complications, your treatments, and how those treatments have affected you for a minimum of three months, although more is better
- Any hospitalization or other treatment records associated with your lupus diagnosis
- Lab reports and test results showing a diagnosis of the most common complications of lupus such as anemia, seizures, bone loss, heart disease, or kidney disease.
Getting Help with Your Lupus and Disability Benefits from Carmichael Law Group
If you suffer from lupus, and your impairment makes it difficult for you to accomplish daily tasks or work and make a living, Carmichael Law Group can help. We understand your situation and will use all our experienced and knowledge to help you through this difficult time. We will fight for you and for your future, using all our resources and every tool at our disposal. Contact Carmichael Law Group today.