SSDI for Chronic Hives

Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney Discusses How Applicants With Chronic Urticaria May Be Eligible for SSDI Benefits

It is a common misconception that only completely bedridden people can qualify for disability benefits. The reality is that a wide range of Americans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when their medical condition stops them from working. Skin disorders like chronic urticaria can be tremendously debilitating. Individuals with chronic hives may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits if the condition is severe enough. To gain greater insight into your specific case, consult with Patrick Hartwig and the SSDI attorneys at Keefe Disability Law immediately. 

What Is Chronic Urticaria?

Put simply, urticaria is the medical term for hives. These are round, swollen areas on the skin. Also called welts, hives can be itchy, uncomfortable, and painful. Chronic urticaria describes when the welts last for more than six weeks at a time. People with this skin condition may experience return episodes for months or even years. 

Diagnosis of Chronic Urticaria

The process of diagnosing chronic urticaria can involve several steps. Patients may seek medical attention during a bout of hives, think they are cured, and then have the hives return some time later. Chronic urticaria is a relatively rare skin condition, so many doctors may not have much experience with it. It is most common among women aged 40 to 59. 

Your family doctor may refer you to a dermatologist or allergist for further testing. They may examine your skin, review your medical history, take a skin biopsy, and conduct allergy testing. Diagnosis may involve a process of elimination to rule out other possibilities. Many people with chronic urticaria ultimately find no known cause. 

Typical Symptoms

Chronic urticaria is characterized by hives that appear on the skin for weeks at a time. The circular-shaped welts can be itchy, tender, and painful. People with lighter complexions may experience redness. All skin types may see hives that are lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. Urticaria may be localized or appear all over the body.

To improve the chances that the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves your disability application, be sure to get detailed notes from your doctor. The more specific information you can provide about symptoms and the impact they have on your daily life, the better. 

Secondary symptoms caused by chronic urticaria may include: 

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Causes and Triggers

Environmental and physical factors may trigger chronic inducible urticaria. Some examples of possible triggers include:

  • Pressure or friction on the skin
  • Prolonged exposure to hot or cold
  • Exposure to the sun
  • Excessive sweating, like from exercise
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Contact with an allergen or other triggering substance
  • Other medical conditions like diabetes, Celiac disease, or rheumatoid arthritis

When no known external factors trigger hives, patients may be diagnosed with chronic spontaneous urticaria. Chronic idiopathic urticaria is another term. Certain immune disorders may contribute to symptoms, too.

Possible Impairments Preventing Substantial Gainful Activity

On the surface, itchy skin may not seem like enough to qualify for disability. However, severe skin conditions can dramatically impact a person’s ability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). 

Chronic urticaria can lead to secondary debilitating factors. Severe joint pain can limit physical movement. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress can make it impossible to work effectively over the long term. Swelling, itching, and pain can disturb sleep, leading to heightened fatigue and headaches during the day. Patients may struggle to maintain relationships or interact with the public. 

Qualify for SSDI By Equaling a Blue Book Listed Condition

The Social Security Administration maintains a listing of impairments that qualify for disability benefits called the SSA Blue Book. The book outlines specific criteria for qualifying for benefits under each medical condition. Chronic urticaria is not in the Blue Book, so the SSA doesn’t typically consider it a qualifying condition.

However, applicants may be able to prove they are eligible for SSDI in other ways. They do this by showing their chronic urticaria is as disabling as another qualifying condition. Listing 8.00 outlines qualifying skin conditions in adults. To equal the listing for dermatitis, applicants may need “extensive skin lesions” that last for at least three months and persist despite treatment. Listing 14.00 for adult immune system disorders may be another possibility.

The SSA’s Medical-Vocational Grids outline different criteria for disability for different age groups. It is easier for older adults to get approved for SSDI benefits than younger applicants. This is because older applicants are less likely to get retrained or change careers. 

Strengthen Your Disability Claim With Skilled Legal Guidance

Especially when you don’t have a condition that is specifically listed in the SSA Blue Book, it can feel daunting to apply for disability. Understanding exactly what it means to equal a Blue Book can be incredibly complex and nuanced. The SSA denies many SSDI applications due to a lack of medical evidence. Presenting a strong claim supported by credible medical proof goes a long way.

Working with a skilled SSDI lawyer can substantially help your claim. Patrick Hartwig and the team at Keefe Disability Law have years of experience handling disability cases just like yours. We can suggest what medical testing and other support you may need to bolster your SSDI application. Our skilled team of lawyers will help you avoid common missteps and substantiate the severity of your chronic urticaria. 

Patrick Hartwig
Connect with me
Managing Attorney, Keefe Disability Law