In January 2017, new immune system disorder listings were included in the Social Security Disability Listing of Impairments. If you suffer from an immune system disorder and you can’t work, it is important to know what conditions are now included in the Listing of Impairments and what you need to do to prove your eligibility.
Section 14.00: Immune System Disorders
If you suffer from an immune system condition, your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits may be considered pursuant to section 14.00 of the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book). Below is some basic information about the different sections of this listing:
- Section 14.02 Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Lupus is an incurable, chronic inflammatory condition that can affect multiple parts of the body. If you have lupus and it affects more than one body part and results in at least two serious symptoms, you may qualify for benefits. Additionally, you could qualify for benefits if you have repeated flare ups and marked symptoms that result in limited activities.
- Section 14.03 Systemic Vasculitis. You may qualify for Social Security disability if you have this type of vasculitis and it affects more than one body part and results in at least two serious symptoms. You may also qualify if you have repeated manifestations of serious symptoms that limit your activities.
- Section 14.04 Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma). This incurable condition results in the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissue. There are at least four specific ways in which someone with scleroderma could qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The specific way in which you qualify depends on your unique condition.
- Section 14.05 Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis. Both polymyositis and dermatomyositis affect the muscles. If the condition impacts a person’s ability to walk, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, swallowing, breathing, or significantly limits activities, Social Security disability could be an option.
- Section 14.06 Undifferentiated and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. People with these immune or autoimmune conditions have connective tissue conditions that do not meet the definitions of other connective tissue diseases. To qualify for Social Security disability, your condition must impact more than one body part and result in at least two serious symptoms. Additionally, you could qualify for benefits if you have repeated flare ups and marked symptoms that result in limited activities.
- Section 14.07 Immune Deficiency Disorders (other than HIV). These disorders include infections that are resistant to treatment including sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, septic arthritis, endocarditis, and sinusitis. Some people with stem cell transplants may also qualify.
- Section 14.09 Inflammatory Arthritis. Some people with arthritis may qualify for benefits if certain joints that impact the person’s ability to walk or to perform gross motor or fine motor functions are impacted by the condition. In some situations, people with inflammatory arthritis can qualify for benefits pursuant to this section in other ways.
- Section 14.10 Sjogren’s Syndrome. This immune system disorder affects the cells that produce saliva and tears. If more than one organ or body system is impacted and you have at least two serious symptoms, you may qualify for benefits. Additionally, you could qualify for benefits if you have serious symptoms that result in limited activities.
- Section 14.11 Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). If you have HIV and one of the other specific resulting conditions or complications that are described in the listing, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Serious symptoms for many immune and autoimmune conditions include severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and involuntary weight loss.
To qualify under a specific listing, you must meet the requirements of that listing. However, regardless of your immune or autoimmune condition, you should expect to provide documentation about your:
- Medical history
- Physical examinations
- Medical tests and laboratory findings
- Work history
Additional documentation may be required for some conditions.
Get the Help You Need to Submit a Successful Social Security Disability Application
The majority of initial Social Security disability applications are denied—even for people with immune conditions who should qualify for benefits. Accordingly, it is important to contact a board-certified disability lawyer if you are filling out an initial application. Our experienced lawyers will work hard to get you the benefits you deserve. Please reach out to us via this website or by phone to learn more.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.