How Lupus Sufferers Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

Tablet with diagnosis lupus and stethoscopeLupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that you may have to live with for the rest of your life. While lupus can be diagnosed at any age, it is most often diagnosed when a person is between the ages of 15 and 44. This is, of course, when most people are also working hard to make a living.

The symptoms of lupus can be debilitating. If you suffer from lupus and your condition keeps you from working, it is important to know whether you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

You May Qualify If You Meet the Listing Requirements for Lupus

Lupus is specifically listed as one of Social Security’s qualifying impairments in Section 14.02 of the Blue Book. To be eligible for classification as disabled under the lupus listing, you must show:

  • At least two body systems or organs are affected by lupus
  • You have at least two of the following symptoms caused by lupus: frequent exhaustion, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss.

Alternatively, you can demonstrate that you experience repeated symptoms of lupus. At least two of your symptoms must result in your:

  • Limited ability to participate in activities of daily living
  • Limited ability to maintain social functioning
  • Limited ability to complete tasks in a timely manner due to a lack of focus or ability to work quickly

These limitations must significantly interfere with your ability to function in an independent, appropriate, and effective manner.

You May Qualify if You Demonstrate an Inability to Work

Another way for lupus sufferers to qualify for Social Security disability benefits is to show that they are unable to work due to the condition. The Social Security Administration imposes a residual functional capacity (RFC) test in order to assess the physical, mental, and sensory limitations of the illness and how they impact the ability to work. Examples of the physical symptoms of lupus that may limit the ability to work include:

  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

Additionally, lupus may present mental and sensory symptoms that further limit the ability to work. These may include:

  • Personality changes, including anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Photosensitivity
  • Seizures

The Social Security Administration will consider how these physical, mental, and sensory limitations impact your ability to work and whether you were properly diagnosed.

In order to qualify for benefits you must provide the Social Security Administration with medical evidence. This may include information regarding observations made by physicians, results of electrocardiography tests, and results from blood tests. The type of evidence used to support your claim may vary depending on the specific symptoms you suffer.

Why You Need to Know If You Qualify for Social Security Disability

If your condition leaves you unable to work, you should consider pursuing a Social Security disability claim because:

  • You may be able to obtain the money you need to pay your bills. You shouldn’t have to worry about bankruptcy, losing your home, or putting food on the table if you are unable to work. Instead, you may be able to use Social Security disability to pay your bills.
  • You have earned these benefits. Part of the money you paid to the government while you were working was for Social Security disability coverage. Now, you may be able to obtain benefits from the insurance program that you paid into while you were able to work.
  • You may sleep better at night. When the financial stress is relieved, you may be able to focus on what is really important—your health.

You do not need to navigate the Social Security disability application process on your own. You have the right to consult with an experienced lawyer who can advise you as to whether you have a claim and help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Please start a live chat with us now to learn more.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law