Lupus is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that was passed in the year 1990. According to the ADA, disabled people must be protected against discrimination from different areas of life such as:

  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  •  Employment
  • Voting and running for office

Is Lupus A Disability?

Yes, lupus can be considered a disability by the SSA. The SSA has a list of impairments that are considered disabling, and lupus is on this list. However, not everyone with lupus will qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

Lupus is known to cause blindness, strokes, seizures, and kidney damage. The SSA will consider your symptoms, how they affect your ability to work, and your medical history when deciding. The SSA’s Blue Book lists two listings for lupus that can qualify you for disability benefits:

  • Listing 14.02B: Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) that affects two or more organs or body systems with moderate severity.
  • Listing 14.02C: Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) that results in repeated fevers, fatigue, malaise, or involuntary weight loss, as well as a limitation of daily living, social functioning, or completing tasks.

Can You Get Disability For Lupus?

Yes, you can get disability benefits for lupus. To qualify for lupus disability benefits, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
  • Your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months.
  • Your impairment must be severe enough that you are unable to do any substantial gainful activity.

If you meet these criteria, you can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA will review your medical records and other evidence to determine if you are eligible for benefits.

The application process for Social Security Disability Benefits can be complex, so it is important to get help from an experienced disability attorney. They can help you gather the necessary evidence, file your application, and represent you at any hearings.

What Is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect many different parts of the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, and other organs. The immune system normally protects the body from infection by attacking foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses. 

In people with lupus, the immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs by mistake. This can cause inflammation, pain, and damage to the affected tissues.

Lupus is more common in women than men, and it is most likely to develop between the ages of 15 and 45. The number of people affected by lupus in the United States is estimated to be between 1.5 and 2.5 million. The majority of people with lupus are women, and the disease is most common in African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lupus

The symptoms of Lupus can vary widely from person to person and may come and go over time. Some common symptoms of Lupus include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Swollen joints
  • Skin rashes, including the butterfly rash across the cheeks and nose
  • Photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight)
  • Mouth sores or ulcers
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers and toes turning white or blue in response to cold or stress)
  • Hair loss
  • Chest pain and shortness of breath
  • Headaches, confusion, and memory loss
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Protein or blood in the urine

These symptoms may vary in severity and frequency depending on the individual and the stage of the disease. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may see a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Types Of Lupus That Qualify For Disability Benefits

There are several types of Lupus, each affecting different parts of the body and with varying degrees of severity. The most common types of Lupus are:

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): This is the most common type of Lupus and can affect many parts of the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, and other organs. Symptoms can be mild or severe and can come and go over time.
  • Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (CLE): This type of Lupus affects only the skin and can cause rashes, sores, or lesions on the face, scalp, or other areas of the body exposed to sunlight.
  • Drug-Induced Lupus: This type of Lupus can be caused by certain medications, including hydralazine, procainamide, and isoniazid. Symptoms are similar to SLE but usually go away when the medication is stopped.
  • Neonatal Lupus: This rare type of Lupus can affect newborn babies and is caused by autoantibodies passed from the mother to the fetus. Symptoms can include skin rashes, liver problems, and low blood cell counts, but usually go away within a few months.
  • Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (SCLE): This type of Lupus primarily affects the skin, causing scaly, red, or coin-shaped rashes that can be itchy or painful. It is often triggered by sun exposure.
  • Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE): This type of Lupus affects only the skin, causing scaly, coin-shaped lesions or red, raised patches on the face, scalp, or other areas of the body exposed to sunlight.

Eligibility Criteria For Getting Disability With Iupus

The SSA approves lupus disability benefits according to the following criteria:

  • Your disability must be severe enough to prevent you from work
  • Symptoms are laying an adverse impact on two or more organs severely impacting one of the organs 
  • The applicant must exhibit at least two of the following symptoms such as fever malaise, fatigue, and involuntary weight loss
  • Symptoms are resulting in limited social functioning, limited ability to complete tasks within time owing to the lack of ability to focus

Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, an applicant must answer yes to the following questions:

  • Are you experiencing ongoing inflammation making it hard to stand or sit for long intervals of time?
  • Does your fatigue make it impossible for you to carry on regular work activities?
  • Are you unable to focus while you are working?
  • How often are you struggling with repeated episodes of weight loss, fever, or fatigue?
  • Have you involuntarily lost excessive weight due to your lupus?
  • Have you experienced confusion or memory loss that has interfered with your work?

What To Do If Your Iupus Meets The SSA’s Eligibility Criteria?

If your lupus is meeting the eligibility criteria of the SSA you can apply for the disability benefits by submitting your medical documents related to lupus. The application process for the Social Security Disability Benefits is complex and time-consuming.

Therefore, you must start it as soon as possible. Connecting with a disability attorney will also help to increase your likelihood of approval of lupus disability benefits. 

What To Do If Your lupus Meets The SSA’s Eligibility Criteria?

You can apply for disability benefits if you do not meet the criteria of the SSA. This is because there is no penalty and you must be honest about all the information that you are providing. 

Even if your symptoms are severe it is challenging to qualify for the benefits. Therefore, you must apply for the right program and work with a disability lawyer who will help you in the right direction. 

Types Of Disability Benefits

It is important to apply for the right disability benefits as it may increase your chances of approval. Fundamentally, there are two types of disability benefits that you can apply for:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Applicants must apply for this program if they have paid their taxes and worked for at least 5 of 10 years. 
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This type of program is based on income and applicants must apply for this program if they have low income and low assets. Learn more about SSDI v/s SSI that will help you pick the right program according to your situation. 

How To Apply For lupus Disability Benefits?

To get approved for SSDI or SSI for lupus, an applicant must meet all the eligibility requirements of the SSA that will make them eligible for the same. You need to ensure that all your financial details, work history, and educational information are ready before you begin the application process.  

You are required to provide all the essential details in your application form without mentioning any misleading information. Gather all the copies of your documents and other medical records. The SSA’s Blue Book has all the details mentioned relating to a specific condition. 

How Much Disability Can You Get For lupus?

The average disability check for lupus is nearly $1,281.43. However, the amount may vary based on your symptoms and impact on your work. The maximum monthly benefits for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for lupus is $3,822 in 2024 and for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is $943. 

Need Legal Help! Contact A Disability Law Firm

If you have lupus and you believe that you may be eligible for disability benefits, you should contact an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. They can help you understand the SSA’s disability requirements and file your application for benefits.