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Disability For Lupus

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Is Lupus a disability?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), lupus is considered a disability. However, you must meet the eligibility criteria of the Blue Book. The disability must involve two or more organs or body systems and must also lead to the fundamental symptoms of fever, fatigue, and weight loss. 

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all employers to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities such as lupus. These accommodations help disabled individuals perform their jobs.

If you have been dealing with a disability caused by or related to lupus, it is wise to apply for lupus disability benefits. Many ailments can be moderated with medical treatment, but some diseases are highly complex. Lupus is one such health condition.  

Symptoms of lupus may become so severe as to be disabling. The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans are currently living with lupus. Between 10% to 15% of people with lupus will prematurely due to complications from the condition.

Fundamental Types of Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation and pain throughout the body. Normally, inflammation occurs if the immune system is fighting an infection or an injury. With lupus, however, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, causing inflammation in multiple parts of the body. There are four general categories of the disease:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus – Also known as SLE, is the most commonly diagnosed type 
  • Drug-induced Lupus – Caused by certain prescription drugs 
  • Cutaneous Lupus – Considered to be a mild type, its effects are limited to the skin
  • Neonatal Lupus – This rare category generally affects infants of a mother with lupus 

It can be difficult to diagnose lupus. Doctors may find it challenging to answer questions about the disease. Even after some testing, it can take an extended time to diagnose disability for lupus accurately. Those seeking disability payment for lupus must present lab tests, family history, and medical history, along with a description of symptoms. 

Common Causes of Lupus

Lupus is a highly complex condition that varies among people. Medical experts are still in the dark about the actual cause of lupus, but there are some common reasons attributed to its underlying cause, including: 

  • Genetics
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Infections
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Medications and drugs

Lupus effects can increase due to a combination of environment and genetics. Likely, there are individuals that inherit a predisposition to lupus. They can develop the disability when they come in contact with environmental factors that worsen lupus. Lupus may cause various complications including kidney damage, brain damage, cancer, pregnancy complications, blindness, strokes, and seizures. 

Symptoms of Lupus

Symptoms usually begin between the mid-teens to the mid-thirties, but they sometimes develop in people as late as their mid-forties. Signs vary from mild and sporadic to severe and continuous. Following are some symptoms an individual with lupus might experience: 

  • Rough red patches on the skin, sometimes resembling a butterfly
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Ulcers in the nose and mouth
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Pain and swelling in the joints, hands, feet, and around the eyes 
  • Hair loss
  • Mild fever

Some symptoms can be moderated through medication, but lupus can become unresponsive to medications. This is common for people with weakened immune systems due to preexisting health conditions or for other reasons. 

Can You Get Disability for Lupus?

The short answer is yes. Adults that have lupus are eligible to get SSDI benefits provided they paid their taxes over the years and have enough work credits. 
Disability Benefits For Lupus
If symptoms related to lupus have become uncontrollable and they deprive you from living a normal life and maintaining full-time employment, it is wise to seek SSDI or SSI for lupus. You may be able to receive benefits. 

The Blue Book is the Social Security Administration (SSA) Listing of Impairments that establishes the medical criteria necessary to evaluate an application for disability benefits.  To receive a favorable determination, you will need to meet the criteria listed.

The SSA evaluates a lupus application for benefits based on the following factors:

  • Ability to continue work like before: They will determine if you can continue work in the kind of vocation you did before symptoms became disabling
  • Stage of condition: Your severity of symptoms must affect basic life activities like getting around, eating, and sleeping
  • List of lupus disability criteria match the Blue Book: Your symptoms must align with the criteria listed in the Blue Book
  • Your ability to perform any type of work: The SSA will determine whether you are unable to adjust to any type of work  

Specific Blue Book criteria are complex and require a record of symptoms such as fatigue, extreme weight loss, and fever. Generally, but not always, the medical evidence should show that your diagnosis satisfies the criteria in the current “Criteria for the Classification of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus” by the American College of Rheumatology. These criteria are mentioned in the most recent edition of the Primer on Rheumatic Diseases published by the Arthritis Foundation.  

What is the role of Residual Functional Capacity in the SSA’s decision?

The disability application process can be lengthy. To obtain a favorable decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits, you must provide medical evidence that demonstrates your lupus prevents substantial gainful employment. Further, the condition must last for a continuous period of at least twelve months.   

If you need Lupus social security disability, the first step is speaking with a qualified disability attorney. The SSA will check every detail of your application before deciding on the claim. They are likely to deny your application if any necessary information or documentation is missing.

To avoid denials and receive disability benefits, you must submit all documents that prove your disability and inability to work. The analysis of the ability to work depends on your physical and mental impairments, and any other symptoms, in order to determine your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC).  

Your RFC plays a crucial role in the SSA’s decision because it determines the most you can still do despite your limitations. People who understand the SSA claims process or have a professional to help them in the application process are simply more likely to receive a favorable decision for lupus disability benefits.

You or your attorney must have an in-depth knowledge of SSA’s statutory and regulatory eligibility criteria. It’s important to know what evidence must be present and what should be avoided to improve the outcome of your benefits claim. Working with a disability lawyer gives you a better chance of attaining disability for Lupus the first time around. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Lupus And Disability Claims

Who is most vulnerable to lupus?

Lupus is more common among females than males. Ninety percent of people diagnosed with lupus are female. Mid-teens to mid-thirties are the most vulnerable age range for developing the disease.  

How long does it take for a lupus disability claim to be approved?

Generally, it takes three to five months for the SSA to decide on your disability claim. This period can vary based on your specific case. 

What documents do you need for a lupus disability claim?

Documentation of your lupus disability can be burdensome, but it is similar to what is needed for other types of disability claims. Some general information that is required includes your documentation of citizenship, birth certificate, military discharge documents (if applicable), and more. Specific medical evidence relevant to your condition that aligns with the SSA Blue Book is necessary.