Lupus is a chronic disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It is considered an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system — the body system that usually fights infections — attacks healthy tissue instead. Lupus most commonly affects your skin, joints, and internal organs. Because it can affect many parts of the body, it can cause a variety of different symptoms, such as: fatigue, headaches, joint pain, fever, edema, hair loss, and abnormal blood clotting.
Nobody knows what causes lupus, but it and other autoimmune diseases do tend to run in families. Experts also think it may develop in response to certain hormones or environmental triggers. An environmental trigger is something outside the body that can bring on symptoms of lupus — or make them worse. Lupus is not contagious.
There are two ways you can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits for lupus. You can either (1) meet the requirements of a listing set out in Social Security’s list of qualifying impairments, or (2) show that you are unable to work due to your limitations.
Lupus is one of the diseases specifically notated in Social Security’s listing of impairments. To qualify as disabled under this listing, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your lupus must affect at least two body systems or organs, (such as the kidneys and the lungs, or the heart and the brain), with at least one involved to a moderate level of severity; and
- Your lupus must cause at least two of the following symptoms: severe fatigue, fever, malaise (feelings of physical discomfort or illness resulting in low physical or mental activity), and/or involuntary weight loss.
- You must have repeated symptoms of lupus, with at least two of the symptoms above, resulting in one of the following limitations at the marked level:
- Limitations of activities of daily living
- Limitation in maintaining social functioning
- Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to lack of focus or ability to work quickly.
You can also qualify for Social Security Disability for lupus if you can prove that you are unable to work due to the health problems caused by lupus. For example, an individual with lupus might have the following physical symptoms: fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, and abnormal heart rhythms. These limitations can make it difficult to stand or walk for a lengthy period of time, which rules out many jobs. Furthermore, those with lupus may suffer personality changes, including anxiety and depression, and may have difficulty concentrating or have increased forgetfulness. Social Security will take these limitations into account when deciding if the applicant can do even simple, routine tasks that don’t require skill.
Learn more about lupus: https://www.lupus.org/resources/what-is-lupus
Adult Listing for lupus: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/14.00-Immune-Adult.htm#14_02
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®