July 25, 2014

Lupus and the SSA

Lupus a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own cells, is considered an adequate basis for Social Security Disability. This is because Lupus is a progressive disease with a full range of different symptoms that can impair work activity. Mild cases cause patients to experience sensitivity to sunlight, swollen joints, rashes, and fatigue. Inflammation is another major symptom of lupus.  In more severe cases, patients can develop anemia, blood clotting, Raynaud’s syndrome, and problems with kidney function.

Thus, these Lupus symptoms can limit a person’s ability to do many activities – especially work. If you can prove that your Lupus interferes with your ability to hold down a full-time job, then you might have a fair shot at winning a Social Security Disability claim based on Lupus. Remember, however, that one cannot get Social Security benefits just because they have lupus; they must actually prove that the disease is causing a major inconvenience or making it impossible for them to work.

Lupus is a progressive disorder.  As such, even though the severity of symptoms experienced by individuals suffering with Lupus may fluctuate, most individuals do not see significant improvement over time.

Lupus, then, is viewed as a very serious illness by the SSA. As such, the SSA has placed lupus into it’s list of very serious medical impairments – known as Social Security “Listings.” Social Security’s lupus listing may be found at Listing 14.02 (Systemic lupus erythematosus).  It basically highlights the limitations resulting from significant physical, visual or mental problems that arise from your lupus diagnosis. If you meet the conditions laid out in the lupus Listing, then you automatically win your case. This is known as the Listing Strategy for Winning an lupus disability claim.

If, however, your lupus is not serious enough to be considered at listing level, then you can also win your lupus disability case if you can show that the symptoms, complications, medication side effects, and other limitations arising from your experience with lupus have left you unable to reliably perform any type of work. This second strategy of winning your claim is known as the functional capacity argument for lupus. You can read more about these strategies for winning by clicking on the links.