Today we have a special blog post regarding a topic many Lupus patients are curious about. We are joined by Ram Meyyappan, writer and editor of Social Security Disability Help,www.disability-benefits-help.org.
Ram offers the following helpful and specific information to Lupus patients:
Applying for Social Security Disability with Lupus
If you have lupus and suffer from systemic effects, involving two or more organs or multiple body systems, then you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The same is true for non-systemic lupus, provided you are able to show your ability to work is significantly impaired by your medical condition.
SSD Programs for Which You May Qualify.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two separate disability programs for which you may qualify with lupus:
1. Social Security Disability Insurance
2. (SSDI)Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Each program has medical and technical requirements you must meet to be eligible for benefits.
Medical Eligibility for SSD Benefits.
The basic criteria that must be met for you to receive benefits through SSDI and/or SSI include:
1. Meeting the SSA’s definition of disability
2. Meeting or equaling a listed medical condition in the SSA’s Blue Book
The SSA’s Definition of Disability
The SSA defines disability strictly. To meet the definition, you must have a medical condition that:
1 Prevents you from working or from maintaining gainful employment, and,
2. Has lasted for a minimum of 12 months, or,
3. is expected to last that long, or,
4. Is a terminal illness.
To receive benefits through either SSD program, you must meet these basic medical requirements.
Technical Eligibility for SSD Programs
Without meeting the technical criteria for SSD programs, you cannot receive benefits, even if you meet the medical eligibility requirements.
1. For SSDI, you must have the work credits from your previous employment that are required for a person of your age, and if you are still able to work, you must have monthly earnings of $1,040 per month or less (as of 2013).
2. For SSI, which is a need-based program, you must have very limited income and other financial resources with which to support yourself.You can learn more about the differences between SSDI and SSI here: http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/245/~/difference-between-social-security-disability-and-ssi-disability
Meeting the SSA’s Listing for Lupus
The SSA maintains a listing of medical conditions that are known to result in disability, of which systemic lupus is one. It appears in the Blue Book under Section 14.02 and details the clinical information which must be documented in your application and medical records in order to qualify for SSD benefits under this listing.To meet the listing, your lupus must:
1. Have effects on two or more of your organs or body systems, including severe effects for at least one organ or system
2. Body-wide symptoms consistent with the autoimmune effects of lupus, which may include: Malaise, Fatigue, Persistent fevers, Unintentional weight loss.
Even if your lupus does not meet the previously mentioned requirements, you can still meet the listing by documenting:
1. That you suffer from repeated episodes in which your lupus causes body-wide autoimmune symptoms, like those listed above,
2. That your are so severely affected by your symptoms you experience the following:severe limitations in completing daily tasks, including typical job functions limitations in functioning socially, and pronounced difficulties with finishing tasks or remaining focused, due to concentration, stamina, or strength issues.
Completing Your Application for SSD
You can fill out your disability application on the SSA’s website or in person, at your local SSA office. The online application is usually faster, as you do not have to schedule and then wait for an appointment with your local office. Filing Appeals for SSD BenefitsMany disability applications are denied at the first review. If this happens to you, you will need to request a reconsideration review, and maybe even an appeal hearing, if you are denied a second time. A disability advocate or attorney can help you with your initial application for benefits and with any subsequent appeals required. For more information, you can reply on this thread or you can visit: www.disability-benefits-help.org