October 2, 2014

Lupus and Your Indiana Social Security Disability Claim

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As an attorney representing many individuals across Indiana in their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, I see a wide variety of disabling conditions.  Recently I have encountered more individuals diagnosed with lupus than before.  I would like to discuss some of the symptoms of lupus and how the Social Security Administration (SSA) addresses these symptoms when evaluating how lupus affects a person’s ability to work. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect many parts of the body.  While it is considered a chronic disease, the severity can differ from individual to individual.  Symptoms of lupus can include, but are not limited to:

  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Oral ulcers
  • Severe fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Rash
  • Sensitivity to sun or light
  • Anemia
  • Involuntary weight loss

The SSA does recognize lupus in its Listing of Impairments.  If your symptoms meet or equal the requirements in Listing 14.02: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, you may be granted Social Security disability benefits.  Another way to win your disability claim with the SSA is to show that your “physical residual functional capacity” is so low you simply cannot work.  You may not be able to sit, stand, or walk long enough at a time or lift enough weight to be able to perform a substantial number of jobs in the national economy.  The pain and fatigue you experience from lupus may also prevent you from staying on task, working a full eight hour day, or making it to work every day.  If you are unable to perform work tasks adequately and consistently for eight hours per day, five days per week, you may meet Social Security’s definition of disability because you are unable to perform a full-time job. In my experience, comprehensive, up-to-date medical records from a specialist can greatly enhance your chance of winning your Social Security disability claim.  Medical source statements from your treating physicians about your inability to work may also enhance your odds of winning in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). A Social Security disability attorney or representative should be able to answer your questions regarding how lupus and other disabling conditions are addressed by the SSA.  Individuals representing Social Security claimants usually work on a contingency fee basis; you pay your representative nothing unless your claim is approved and you receive past-due benefits.

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