Systemic lupus erythematosus, which is commonly referred to as “lupus,” is an autoimmune disease. It causes your immune system to turn against your body and attack healthy tissue and cells. Doctors do not know what causes lupus, and all they can do is control it with medication and lifestyle changes as there is no cure for the disease.
If you struggle with the pain, fatigue and other disabling effects of the disease, you may qualify for Social Security disability. A lupus lawyer at London Eligibility has the knowledge and experience to fight for your right to a disability benefit for lupus through the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs administered by the Social Security Administration.
What is lupus?
The symptoms associated with lupus do not affect everyone in the same way. It may develop slowly in one person while spreading aggressively and rapidly in someone else. It can affect any part of the body with symptoms that include:
- 1). Pain
- 2). Fatigue
- 3). Stiff, swollen joints
- 4). Weakness
- 5). Swollen glands
- 6). Mouth ulcers
- 7). Chest pain when breathing
- 8). Hair loss
- 9). Rashes
The term “flare” has come to be associated with lupus because the symptoms may not be constant. For example, you may have a period of little or no pain followed by days of severe pain, which are referred to as a flare. Flares can be so severe as to be disabling and prevent you from working.
Doctors do not have a specific test to use to diagnose the disease, so they rely upon a complete medical history and examination. Your doctor may order blood and other laboratory tests to aid in rendering a diagnosis.
Lupus cannot be cured, so your doctors will try to control flares with drugs and lifestyle changes designed to reduce or control swelling and pain, strengthen your immune system, and limit damage to joints and organs.
Social Security Listing of Impairments
Social Security created a Listing of Impairments for its examiners to use to determine if a medical or mental health impairment is severe enough to enable a person to qualify for SSD benefits. A condition that meets the criteria of the listing would qualify you to receive benefits.
The Listing of Impairments includes lupus and contains several requirements that must exists for you to be eligible for lupus disability benefits, including:
- 1). The disease must affect two or more systems or organs; and
- 2). You must experience two or more of the following symptoms: Frequent exhaustion, physical discomfort or illness causing low mental or physical activity, or involuntary weight loss.
Adults with lupus that affects only one organ or system of the body may qualify for lupus disability under the Listing of Impairments if they experience limitations in one of the following areas:
- 1). Daily living activities.
- 2). Maintenance of social functioning.
- 3). Ability to complete tasks quickly or in a timely manner.
There are other criteria that must be met, but a disability advocate at London Eligibility can review your claim for benefits to determine whether you meet them.
Qualifying for lupus disability without meeting the listing criteria
The fact that your medical condition does not meet the criteria of the Listing of Impairments for someone diagnosed with lupus, you may still qualify for benefits by proving that you cannot work due to impairments caused by lupus. A key to this is the residual functional capacity, or RFC, assessment used by Social Security.
A lupus lawyer from London Eligibility gathers medical evidence and presents it to show that the disease prevents you from engaging in work that you performed in the past and prevents you from adjusting to other types of work that may exist. The focus is on showing that lupus causes the following limitations:
- 1). Physical limitations, including pain, fatigue, irregular heart rhythms, swollen joints, and shortness of breath.
- 2). Mental limitations, which may include impaired memory, inability to recall and follow instructions, inability to cope with pressures of the workplace.
- 3). Sensory limitations from lupus include vision impairment, skin sensitivity to sunlight, and seizure activity.
A denial of benefits following your initial application may be challenged through an appeal process that includes a hearing with an administrative law judge and the opportunity to submit updated and additional medical evidence to support the claim for benefits.
How much disability can you get for lupus?
If approved for a lupus benefit through SSDI, the amount you receive each month depends on your lifetime earnings while working. The most current information shows the average monthly SSDI payment to be $1,358.70.
Individuals who qualify for benefits through the SSI program can receive up to $841 or $1,261 for an eligible individual with a spouse who is also eligible for benefits. You may receive more if you live in one of the states that supplements the federal payment.
Learn more about lupus and SSD
A consultation with a London Eligibility disability professional provides an opportunity to get answers to questions you have about your disability benefit for lupus. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.