What is Lupus?
Systemic Lupus Eurythematosus, or Lupus Disease is a chronic disorder that primarily involves the immune system, coming under the umbrella of an auto immune disorder. Lupus occurs when the body’s immune system begins to attack its own cells, wrongfully identifying them as foreign objects. Symptoms of Lupus can include swelling of joints such as wrists, elbows and knees, damage to the kidneys and other organs and problems with the skin and blood.
While some people with Lupus can carry on living a normal life, for others the condition is far more severe. People with Lupus can face a lifetime of medical problems. If you are suffering from Lupus to the point that you are no longer able to work or hold down employment, then you may be eligible for SSD or SSI social security payments.
However, having these benefits granted to you by the Social Security office is not always easy, in fact around 70% of all claims are turned down. In order to have your claim granted it can be helpful to understand how such judgments are made.
Getting Social Security Disability Benefits with a Lupus Diagnosis
Contrary to what many people believe, decisions on SSD and SSI benefits are not actually made at your local social security office. After you have made a claim by completing your application, it will be forwarded to the state office in charge of disability assessments. In most states this is known as the DDS or Disability Determination Services. The case is put into the hands of a disability examiner who will gather information from Doctors, Hospitals and other organization to make a decision about the case.
At this point the examiner can grant or deny the application. If your application is denied you have the right to appeal within sixty days of receiving a letter informing you that your disability benefits were denied. Ultimately, after being denied at 2 levels of DDS review, you will be able to have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ.
To make an assessment that someone is disabled or not, disability examiners and ALJs rely on what is casually referred to as the blue book. This book contains definitions of conditions along with the relevant symptoms which are covered by social security disability payments. Conditions covered in the blue book are referred to as ‘listings.’
The symptoms for Lupus as listed in the blue book are broad. An individual must be able to prove an impairment to one of many of the bodies systems as effected by Lupus. Those covered include joints, muscles, ocular, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, renal, skin, neurological or mental impairments. They must be severe and be proven to have a detrimental effect on an individuals ability to work. In the case of less severe impairments, two effected areas are required to be demonstrated.
Lupus is a condition that can flare up and then disappear just as quickly. For this reason, when you do have flare ups be sure to see you doctor and have him write notes on the flare up. This may be integral to your disability claim later on when disability examiners or ALJs are reviewing your medical records.