Qualifying for SSD Benefits After Your Lupus Diagnosis

Approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus. And while it generally strikes women of childbearing age, men, children, and teens can develop it too. In fact, the disease usually develops between the ages of 15-44. Because these are prime working and career-building years, lupus can economically devastate families. Many are unable to work with the disease because of the extreme symptoms. These can include pain, fatigue, hair loss, cognitive issues, and physical impairments. The added risks of cardiovascular disease, rashes, strokes, and pain in the joints can also be debilitating.

What You Need to Qualify for SSD

Having some form of income allows patients to take care of themselves and their families. Social Security disability benefits provide economic assistance to Lupus patients who meet the SSA’s requirements. Here’s how to qualify.

A lupus diagnosis isn’t enough for you to qualify for SSD benefits. You must have a specific diagnosis. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the form of lupus most recognized by the SSA. Because it is frequently associated with serious symptoms or signs, it is generally the most severe.  To qualify as disabled under this listing you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have a Lupus diagnosis involving two or more organs/body systems, with:
  • One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and
  • At least two of the associated symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, involuntary weight loss.)

 If you do not meet any of the above requirements, you can still meet the qualifications if:

  1. You have repeated manifestations of SLE with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs. These include fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss. AND you must have one of the following limitations at the marked level:
  • Activities of daily living
  • Maintaining social functioning
  • Completing tasks in a timely manner (this can be due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace)

Required Medical Evidence to Support Your Lupus Disability Claim

You must also have medical evidence to obtain benefits. A medical history, a report of a physical examination, a report of laboratory findings and sometimes imaging is required. For SLE specifically, the SSA uses the American College of Rheumatology’s Criteria for the Classification of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. This gives eleven criteria that help determine if the patient has lupus. The patient must have four of the eleven to be diagnosed. They include:

  • Serositis
  • Oral ulcers
  • Arthritis
  • Photosensitivity
  • Blood disorders (for example: sickle cell, anemia)
  • Renal involvement
  • Antinuclear antibodies
  • Immunologic phenomena (eg, dsDNA; anti-Smith [Sm] antibodies)
  • Neurologic disorder
  • Malar rash
  • Discoid rash

You must also meet the SSA’s requirements for qualifying for SSD benefits. And you must be able to prove that you are unable to work due to your condition.

Learn more about qualifying for SSD benefits after your lupus diagnosis and to connect with a qualified disability advocate near you. They will help you with your application and can expedite the process, getting you the maximum benefits you’re owed. In fact, a Social Security attorney can nearly triple your approval odds for benefits!

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now:

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Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.