Lupus is an autoimmune rheumatic disease. There are different types of lupus, and depending on what type you have, symptoms can range from mild to severe enough to be disabling. Some people with lupus may have total and permanent disabilities, and they may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Living With Lupus
Approximately a million and a half Americans live with lupus, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. Additionally, 90% of lupus patients are women.
The American College of Rheumatology has identified 11 symptoms of lupus. They recommend that you seek medical attention if you have four or more of the following symptoms:
- A butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose
- A scaly and disk-shaped rash on the face, neck, ears, chest, or scalp
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Sores in the mouth, on the tongue, and inside the nose
- Joint pain
- Pain occurring in the chest and side when you move or breathe
- Problems with kidneys
- Neurologic problems
- Blood abnormalities like a low white cell count and anemia
- Malfunction of the immune system
- Antinuclear antibodies
Your medical team may consider the different types of lupus when making your diagnosis. The different types of lupus include:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus, which affects your joints and organs. This is the most common type of lupus.
- Discoid lupus, which primarily affects your skin.
- Sub-acute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, which causes skin lesions.
- Drug-induced lupus caused by a medication reaction.
- Neonatal lupus, which affects only newborns.
Lupus is often difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary from person to person and often overlap other rheumatic diseases.
However, once your medical team has diagnosed you with lupus, you need to know how to live with this condition and what to expect next.
Social Security Disability Eligibility for Lupus
When the condition becomes severe enough, maintaining the job you once held could be impossible, and Social Security disability may be an option. You may qualify for Social Security disability if you have lupus and:
You Meet the Requirements in Section 14.02 of the Blue Book
The Social Security Administration has a specific listing that covers lupus. According to Section 14.02 of the Adult Listing of Impairments, you may qualify for disability benefits if you have systemic lupus erythematosus and you meet the criteria contained in this listing. You may qualify for benefits if one of the following is true:
- Lupus impacts at least two body systems or organs and causes exhaustion, fevers, malaise, or involuntary weight loss.
- Lupus causes exhaustion, fevers, malaise, or involuntary weight loss and causes significant limitations in your everyday activities, your ability to take part in regular social functions, or your potential to focus on the work or tasks at hand.
In either case, you must demonstrate that lupus significantly impacts your ability to live and work independently, making it difficult to perform your job.
You Can’t Work Because of Your Medical Condition
You may have systemic lupus erythematosus or another form of lupus and not meet the specific provisions outlined in Section 14.02 of the Blue Book.
However, you may still be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you prove that:
- Your condition is equal in severity to any Blue Book listing. If lupus impacts your life to the same extent as any other Blue Book listing, then you should be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
- You can’t work because of your medical condition. If your condition limits your ability to function on the job, you can demonstrate this by filling out a residual functional capacity assessment. In this assessment, you’ll show your mental, physical, and sensory capacity and how each is limited by lupus.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer Today to Protect Your Rights
Applying for Social Security disability can be challenging even if you know that you qualify for benefits. This is because the Social Security Administration looks for very specific information whether you apply under Listing 14.02 or by submitting a residual functional capacity assessment.
Our experienced New England Social Security disability lawyers are here to help you. We know what the Social Security Administration is looking for and how to submit a complete and convincing application for benefits.
Please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your rights and potential Social Security disability benefits.