How to Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
You May Be Entitled to SSD Benefits if Lupus and Its Associated Symptoms Prevent You from Working Full-Time
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation throughout the body. This happens when your immune system creates certain antibodies to cells in the body, causing the immune system to attack the body.
Lupus is a long-term medical impairment that can affect many systems and organs. Symptoms vary widely, especially regarding the severity of the flare ups and how often they happen. Lupus flare ups can cause excruciating pain, fatigue, and swelling. Lupus can also cause problems with cognition, impacting your memory, ability to get along with others, and concentration. All these symptoms can make it difficult for lupus sufferers to maintain a high quality of life and to work full time.
This article explains how to get Social Security Disability benefits for lupus. If you have any questions about your case, or are looking for legal representation in your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, contact us today for a free consultation. We have helped lupus sufferers in Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Newport News, Williamsburg, Hampton, Fredericksburg, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach obtain the benefits they deserve. And we’re ready to help you and your family obtain the SSD payments you’re entitled to for lupus.
What is Lupus?
Systemic lupus erythematosus, often called lupus, is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation of the connective tissue.
Lupus may also cause problems with your joints, skin, mucous membranes, lungs, heart, gastrointestinal system, nervous system, and spleen.
What is the Cause of Lupus?
Usually doctors are unable to determine the cause of lupus. Sometimes, however, doctors can determine that a certain prescription medication is causing your lupus. For example, hydralazine and procainamide, which are medications used to treat heart conditions, can cause lupus. Usually drug-induced lupus will go away after the medication is stopped.
Who Does Lupus Affect?
The majority of people with lupus are women in their late teens to late 30s. But lupus also affects children and older men and women.
What are the Symptoms of Lupus?
Lupus affects everyone differently. It may develop suddenly. Or it may develop gradually with worsening symptoms over time. Common symptoms include:
Joint Problems: People with lupus often experience joint pain and inflammation (swelling).
Skin: People with lupus may have skin rashes, including a butterfly rash across the nose and cheeks. Blisters and ulcers sometimes occur during lupus flare-ups. Sensitivity to sunlight is also common.
Lungs: People with lupus may experience shortness of breath and chest pain when breathing deeply. This is due to inflammation of the sac around the lungs and inflammation of the lungs itself.
Heart: Lupus sufferers may experience inflammation of the walls of the coronary arteries, which can cause angina and inflammation of the heart with scarring. In turn this can cause heart failure.
Kidneys: Some lupus sufferers experience progressive kidney problems related to their condition. This can result in protein in the urine that causes swelling in the legs.
Nervous System: Lupus suffers may experience headaches, changes in their personality, stroke, or cognitive impairments.
How is Lupus Diagnosed?
When a patient presents with common symptoms of lupus, their doctor will order a blood test. A blood test can detect specific antinuclear antibodies that are present in most lupus suffers. If the antinuclear antibodies are present, then your doctor will check for antibodies to double-stranded DNA or to phospholipids. Other blood tests may also be ordered.
What is the Prognosis for People with Lupus?
Often lupus is chronic and intermittent. You may go long periods without symptoms, then experience a sudden flare-up that lasts for a long period. Because of how unpredictable lupus is, many sufferers experience depression and anxiety related to the condition.
How is Lupus Treated?
The prescribed treatment for lupus depends on what organs it affects and how often you experience lupus flare-ups.
The goal of treatment for lupus is to decrease how often it is active and to decrease the inflammation, which reduces and prevents long-term scarring and damage.
Active lupus may be treated with a corticosteroid such as prednisone. Immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclophosphamide may also be prescribed. Lupus sufferers with severe kidney disease often receive a combination of the corticosteroid and immunosuppressive drug.
How Can I Receive Social Security Disability for Lupus?
There are two ways to receive disability for lupus: 1) by meeting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Listing for Lupus and 2) by proving that the symptoms from your lupus prevent you from working full-time.
SSA Listing of Impairment 14.02 is entitled Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Under Listing 14.02, the SSA will find you disabled if you have been diagnosed with lupus and:
A. It involves two or more organs/body systems, with:
1. One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and
2. At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs of lupus (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss)
B. You have repeated manifestations of SLE, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:
1. Limitation of activities of daily living.
2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.
3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.
These factors are proven through your testimony and medical records.
You can receive disability for lupus even if you do not meet the criteria for Listing of Impairment 14.02. If the evidence demonstrates that you will have difficulty lifting, sitting, standing, walking, and maintaining time, attendance, concentration, pace, and persistence because of your lupus flare-ups, then you may be entitled to SSD benefits based on your limitations, age, education, and acquired job skills..
Have Questions About Social Security Disability for Lupus? Our Disability Attorney Can Help!
Are you looking for help with your disability claim based on lupus and its symptoms? Contact Corey Pollard, a top-rated disability attorney in Richmond, VA, for a free consultation. We can help you at every stage of the SSD process. And there is no fee unless we help you obtain cash benefits and back pay.