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 disability benefits.
The SSA will consider your individual symptoms, how they affect your ability to work, and your medical history when making a determination.
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.
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:
- 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
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.
Treatment For Lupus
There is no cure for lupus, but it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. Treatment may include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids can help to reduce inflammation and pain associated with lupus.
- Immunosuppressants to suppress the immune system: Azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, and methotrexate can help to suppress the immune system and prevent it from attacking healthy tissues.
- Pain relievers: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help to relieve pain and fever associated with lupus.
- Sunscreen to protect the skin from the sun: Lupus can cause the skin to become more sensitive to the sun. Sunscreen can help to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
- Lifestyle changes: Avoiding smoking, stress, and certain medications, can help to reduce the risk of flare-ups and improve overall health.
It is important to work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. The treatment plan may need to be adjusted over time as your lupus progresses or changes.
Can You Get Disability For Lupus?
Yes, you can get disability benefits for lupus. To qualify for 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 can be complex, so it is important to get help from an experienced disability attorney. A disability attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence, file your application, and represent you at any hearings.
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 attorney. A disability attorney can help you understand the SSA’s disability requirements and can help you file your application for benefits.