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Lupus and Social Security Disability

Posted Dec 19 2009 8:21am

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), commonly referred to as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune connective tissue disease that can perturb any part of the body. The disease is often irregular, alternating between periods of illness and remission and can be unpredictable. Not only is the illness unpredictable, but so are the symptoms. Unlike many diseases that come with specific warnings of contraction, signs of lupus can be as simple as unusual fatigue, pain in the joints, or a fever. Yet, while some signs are fairly ordinary, others can have an immediate disabling impact on the individual. This article provides detailed information about lupus and how the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines if an individual with the disease is disabled.

SSA has a Listing of Impairments that must be met for someone to be considered disabled. The Listing contains different criteria for various medical conditions and diseases and can be different depending on whether you are a child or an adult. Although meeting a listing can boost your disability claim, it should be noted that failing to meet the criteria under the listing does not necessarily result in the denial of your claim.

Under SSA's Listing of Impairments, lupus falls within Immune System Disorders, section 14.02. 14.02 points to two different ways someone with lupus can meet the listing. The first way is if an individual with lupus has two or more organs/body systems affected. The rule states, "One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity and, at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss)." Visit  http://www.ssa.gov  for a more thorough reading of the rule. While any system of the body can be affected by lupus, it is worth noting that the most common two are the musculoskeletal and integumentary systems.

Another way someone with lupus can meet the listing is by demonstrating repeated manifestations of the disease with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs and one of the following at the marked level: "limitation of the activities of daily living, limitation in maintaining social functioning, limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace."  http://www.ssa.gov. Strong medical evidence could be the key in establishing your case and specifically demonstrating those limitations. This is especially true for those with lupus whose symptoms are not readily observable.

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