Social Security Disability for Autoimmune DisordersPosted December 4, 2020 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®
December 1st was World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and interferes with the body’s ability to fight infections. The virus can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. Within a few weeks of HIV infection, flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and fatigue can occur. Then the disease is usually asymptomatic until it progresses to AIDS. AIDS symptoms include weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue, and recurrent infections.
No cure exists for AIDS, but strict adherence to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) can dramatically slow the disease’s progress, prevent secondary infections and complications, and prolong life.
HIV/AIDS and other autoimmune disorders can often greatly impact an individual’s ability to work, and many people who suffer from such illnesses may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
Autoimmune diseases cause the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack and destroy healthy body tissue. The immune system helps protect the body by attacking potentially harmful antigens, such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. in people who have autoimmune diseases, the immune system is unable to determine a difference between harmful antigens and healthy body tissue and attacks otherwise healthy body tissue and antigens.
Treatment for many individuals involves taking immunosuppressants, which can cause a surge of worsening symptoms once they are discontinued, such as: severe fatigue, joint pain, inflammation, recurrent infections and skin rashes are some of the symptoms my clients inform me of.
Because there are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, the Social Security evaluation process is dependent on the specific autoimmune disease. Social Security has an entire category of “blue book” listings for various types of autoimmune disorders, including lupus, vasculitis, HIV, and inflammatory arthritis. (https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/14.00-Immune-Adult.htm)
If you do not meet one of the SSA’s listings, you may still be found disabled if you are unable to perform your past work on a full-time basis. The SSA will consider the combined effect of all of your impairments, including the symptoms of your disease, side effects of medications, and symptoms or limitations from any other conditions you may suffers from. Obtaining an opinion from your doctor about your inability to work will generally help as well.
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®