How do I prove that my skin disorder is debilitating enough to receive disability benefits?

Although most minor skin conditions such as acne and eczema are merely cosmetic frustrations, more serious conditions such as severe dermatitis and chronic infections can be life altering. According to the National Institute of Health, morbidity is significant with severe skin ailments through potential disfigurement, disability, or symptoms such as intractable itch. Severe skin conditions can also cause a reduction in quality of life by forcing isolation due to embarrassment and depression. Even worse, the pain of certain conditions can keep a sufferer from participating in day-to-day activities, including work.

As a result of this debilitation, chronic and severe skin conditions are eligible for disability benefits to help aid those financially who are unable to support themselves. However, in order to be approved for benefits, you must be able to prove the severity of your ailment to the Social Security Administration (SSA), based on specific criteria.

Evidential Requirements for Skin-Related Disability Approval    

Although the SSA concedes that certain skin conditions can cause the need for disability assistance, in order to fairly judge this need, each claim is investigated to determine whether there is enough evidence to prove disability. Unfortunately, as a result of claimants being unable to prove that their conditions prevent them from working, only an average of 30% of claims are approved.

The SSA estimates that nearly 60% of all disability claims are denied. Of these denials, 55% are related to insufficient medical proof, while the other 45% are denied based on technical issues. This is why it is extremely important to know what to include in your claim and to get the necessary help to make sure all requirements are fulfilled before you file. To prove the severity of your skin condition, you must collect the following evidence:

  • Information about the onset of the condition (how it started, when it started, etc.)
  • Duration and frequency of flare-ups (how long they last and how long you’ve been suffering)
  • Location, size, and appearance of lesions (to determine mobility issues)
  • Any history of exposure to toxins, allergens, or irritants
  • Seasonal variations (does the condition get better or worse at different times of the year?)
  • Flare-up factors (does anything make the condition worse—stress, movement, etc.)
  • Witness statements (discussing your ability to function outside of a highly protective environment)
  • Laboratory findings to prove diagnosis (results of a biopsy, blood tests, screenings, etc.)
  • Medical testimony describing severity
  • Symptoms and pain charts
  • Employer/coworker statements describing your ability (or lack thereof) to work
  • Evidence that the condition has lasted or will last more than three months

No Need to Jump Out of Your Skin—We’re Here to Help!

When you’re suffering from a condition that keeps you from doing the things you love in addition to the things you have to do to survive, having to justify your pain to others can be extremely taxing. Fortunately, when forced to justify it to the Social Security Administration, you don’t have to do it alone. Our experience, knowledge, and support can help you file without causing added stress which may agitate your condition.

We know how confusing and frustrating filing a disability claim can be, especially when a single mistake could not only delay your ruling, but could deny it altogether. Let us help make sure your claim gets the attention and proper judgment it deserves. Call us today for a free consultation and review of your claim. You won’t be disappointed.

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Boston, MA?

If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 508.283.5500 to schedule your free consultation.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer