Guide to Getting Disability for Autoimmune Disorders

Can I Get Social Security Disability for Autoimmune Disorders?

Are you one of the 50 million Americans living with one or more globally identified autoimmune disorders? If so, then you may qualify for monthly Social Security disability payments. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has different criteria for each medical condition that counts as a disability. In addition, there are certain non-medical requirements you must also meet to qualify for these benefits. To make your life a little bit easier, we’ll explain how to qualify for disability for autoimmune disorders below.

How Common are Autoimmune Disorders?

  • 3%-5% of the U.S. population lives with at least one autoimmune disorder
  • 25% of them have more than one
  • 80% of people with autoimmune diseases are women

Two Federal Programs Offer Disability for Autoimmune Disorders

1.    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is for adults aged 18 to 66 with 40 work credits. That means you worked full-time in 5 of the last 10 years in jobs where you paid Social Security taxes. In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have a serious medical condition that:

  • Prevents you from engaging in work or other substantial gainful activity
  • Keeps you from doing the work you used to do
  • Stops you from adjusting to a new type of work
  • Is likely to last at least a year or to result in death

Didn’t work recently or enough years to qualify for SSDI? Don’t worry — disability for autoimmune disorders from the SSI program may still be available to you.

Social Security Disability for Autoimmune Disorders

2.    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is for people with limited income and resources, including children, older and/or disabled adults. According to the SSA, you qualify for SSI if you meet the following requirements:

Have limited monthly income and resources totaling no more than $1,550. IMPORTANT: Child support, alimony, earned interest, SNAP, TANF, etc., count toward this total.

Possess total assets worth less than $2,000 ($3,000 for couples), like money in bank accounts, stocks and bonds, lottery tickets, etc. IMPORTANT: Wedding rings, a home and vehicle you own, and other daily living items don’t count toward this total.

Learn more about what counts toward SSI income limits.

What Are the Age Requirements for SSI Disability?

If you’re 65 or older, then you can get SSI even if you’re not disabled or blind. If you’re 64 or younger, you may be eligible if you have a disability that:

  • Impacts your ability to work for a year or more,
  • Will result in death, or
  • Severely limits daily activity (for children with disabilities).

You’ll need a Disability Determination Services exam to verify you have a valid disability for autoimmune disorders claim.

Get more details on the DDS exam.

Autoimmune Disorders That Commonly Qualify for Monthly Disability

Now that you know the eligibility requirements, let’s look at conditions that usually meet the criteria for SSI and SSDI.

Autoimmune Disorders that Commonly Qualify for Benefits

We’ve written the following comprehensive guides covering the specifics of applying for disability for autoimmune disorders:

Documents You’ll Need to Apply for Disability Benefits

The SSA has a full checklist outlining everything you need to apply for SSI and SSDI. If you’re applying for disability for autoimmune disorders, here are some of the highlights:

  • Your date and place of birth, Social Security number, and information about your spouse, former spouse, and any children still living at home
  • Birth certificate or other proof of birth as well as proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
  • W-2 form(s) or self-employment tax returns for the prior year
  • Contact information for healthcare professionals you’ve seen during recent years, plus two non-healthcare providers familiar with your situation
  • Records related to your medical conditions, including medications and medical tests
  • Worker’s compensation, settlements, or other disability benefit information (when applicable)
  • Your 15-year work history, including hours worked, wages earned, and any specialized job, trade, or vocational training you did and the dates completed

What Medical Evidence You’ll Need for Your Disability Claim

Medical evidence forms the basis of your claim to receive disability for autoimmune disorders. The Social Security Administration outlines specific requirements for each autoimmune disease and disorder in its Blue Book. The Blue Book has two sections: one for adults, and one for people under 18.

IMPORTANT: If your condition isn’t in the Blue Book, you may still qualify for disability if your condition has the same symptoms or test results as another listing.

Medical evidence supports your claim that your condition prevents you from working or earning a living and also interferes with your ability to perform daily activities, like personal care, cooking, and cleaning. The SSA requires three forms of medical evidence:

1. Digital or photocopies of medical records, doctors’ reports, and recent test results.

Medical Evidence to Support Your Autoimmune Disorders Claim

2. Information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying, and understanding and remembering instructions.

3. Statements from doctors, yourself, and others that explain:

  • Your illnesses, injuries, or medical conditions
  • When they began
  • How they limit your activities
  • Conclusions from medical tests
  • Treatments and their outcomes

IMPORTANT: Autoimmune conditions are complex with symptoms that you can either manage, or those that come (flare up) and go. This means you may be deemed able to maintain “substantial gainful activity” and earn a sufficient living. If you earn more than a certain limit, you do not qualify.

How Does an Autoimmune Disease Affect Your Life?

Every autoimmune disease is different. The following are some common impacts on your daily life and ability to work:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Vision or mobility impairment
  • Pulmonary issues
  • Changes in sensation
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss

PRO TIP: Ask your doctor to for a residual functional capacity test. This form provides strong evidence showing what you can and cannot do with your autoimmune disease or disorder.

How Your Autoimmune Disease Affects You Daily

How Hard Is it to Get Disability for Autoimmune Disorders?

Pretty hard if you do try to do it all by yourself. Only 1 in 5 people who file for disability without legal assistance get benefits on their first try (most are denied 3 or 4 times). Another 2 in 5 get “technical denials” for things like not enough work credits or basic paperwork mistakes.

The best way to figure out if you may qualify? Talk to a disability attorney or advocate who knows the requirements and can evaluate your case before you file. More than half (58%) of claimants with lawyers get benefits on their very first try!

IMPORTANT: Don’t assume you can’t afford an attorney. All Social Security attorneys work on contingency. That means if the SSA won’t approve your claim, then you pay $0 for legal assistance. But if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee. See more benefits of working with a Social Security attorney.

How to Triple Your Disability Approval Odds in 6 Months or Less

People who try to get disability for autoimmune disorders without an attorney’s help face many challenges. Since the SSA rejects 4 in 5 initial claims, they may have to wait up to two years for their first payments. But those who work with an attorney to file their paperwork nearly triple their chances of getting monthly benefits. And many people who qualify for legal assistance through this website receive at least $13,000 in back pay.

Learn more about how to get disability benefits faster.

You can speak with an experienced lawyer near you for free about your claim today. Click the button below to sign up for a free phone call to get confidential claim help over the phone. It’s both the fastest and easiest way to get professional help with your application for benefits:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: