Disabilities come in the form of extremely varied conditions, injuries, and health problems. Your ability to claim disability depends, in part, on the condition you have, but it depends primarily on the severity of your condition. Lupus is listed as a condition that disability can cover, but to get benefits for your condition, it must be a “severe” case of lupus. For help claiming disability for your lupus, contact Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak today to schedule a free legal consultation.
Does Social Security Disability Cover Lupus?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs the main disability system in the United States. Disability through the SSA’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is one of the most common ways for workers to claim disability benefits for serious health conditions and injuries that they suffer. When claiming disability for a condition, you must first check if that condition is listed in the SSDI list of covered conditions.
The SSA’s “Listing of Impairments” contains a section for “Immune System Disorders,” which contains a listing for lupus. Many times, medical definitions and the SSDI definition of a disorder may have differences as to what they consider the core elements, so it is important to see what the SSA’s definition of the disorder is to see if you qualify for disability with lupus.
The condition is generally defined under SSDI rules as an “inflammatory disease” affecting one or more parts of your body or organs. Lupus usually comes with fatigue and other “constitutional symptoms,” potentially including severe weight loss, fever, and other symptoms. Since lupus can involve important organs, it may affect your ability to breath, your heart’s proper functions, and problems with other body systems. Mental issues – “’lupus fog’” – are also possible. This listing specifically covers “systemic lupus erythematosus,” and the SSA acknowledges that their definition should be in line with the American College of Rheumatology’s definition of lupus.
Is My Lupus Severe Enough for Disability?
If you establish to some degree of medical certainty that the condition you have is lupus as defined under the SSA’s rules, you are on your first step toward qualifying for disability benefits. However, you could still have a disability application denied if your condition is not severe enough to qualify for disability.
For your disability claim to be accepted, the SSA must see that your disability is severe enough to interfere with work and physical tasks in your day to day life. The SSA’s definition of “severe” lupus requires you to have lupus involvement in at least two organs or body systems (one of which is “at least a moderate level”), plus at least two “constitutional symptoms,” such as fatigue, fever, or weight loss.
Alternatively, “[r]epeated manifestations of [lupus]” plus two “constitutional symptoms” will qualify you for coverage if the condition has an impact to a “marked level” on one of the following:
- Daily living activities
- “[S]ocial functioning”
- Timely completion of activities because of problems with “concentration, persistence, or pace”
In addition, you must show a clear impact on your life, even under the second set of qualifying symptoms. If you can still perform work activities or the SSA finds that you can perform a previous job instead of your current one, you may not qualify for disability. If your condition is severe enough to keep you from work, you may be entitled to ongoing benefits.
What Kinds of Disability Benefits are Available for Lupus Patients?
If the Social Security Administration determines you qualify for disability, you can claim disability benefits through one of two different systems. The first is SSDI, disability insurance for working Americans. If you have a history of paying FICA and Social Security taxes, you likely qualify for SSDI and can claim disability through your work record. This may also be available for non-working spouses or spouses who worked abroad – even if you’ve been divorced. Coverage is typically available for children disabled before they turn 22 years old as well.
If you do not have a sufficient work record to claim SSDI, you may be able to claim SSI instead. This “Supplemental Security Income” is available as a need-based alternative if you are disabled and have no way of claiming benefits through your record.
If you apply for SSDI, you likely have a waiting period of 5 months. This means you must wait 5 months from your application date before you can start receiving benefits. SSI and other benefits may be able to supplement your income during this time. Ultimately, when you apply for SSDI, you can receive back payments and retroactive payments to cover you back to the date you applied and even the date that your disability started.
Call Our Fayetteville, AR Disability Lawyer for Lupus
If you need help applying for disability for lupus, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today. Our Social Security disability lawyer offers free legal consultations to help you understand whether your condition is covered for SSDI payments and how you can apply. Contact a lawyer for help applying and to avoid having benefits denied. To schedule a free legal consultation on your disability case, contact our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.
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