Does Lupus Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Picture of lupus on a chalkboard, journal, medicine

Lupus, often known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic auto-immune disease that affects multiple organs or body systems. It’s a debilitating illness with a wide range of symptoms that alter and worsen over time. Decreased cognition, memory, focus, malaise, anxiety, sadness, or acute fatigue are some of the issues that make it difficult for patients to work.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, 89% of patients with lupus indicate that lupus complications prevent them from working full-time. They also state that the average annual direct medical cost per patient is $12,643. However, the type and severity of your symptoms have a substantial impact on your immediate medical expenses. If you or a loved one is suffering from lupus symptoms that make working full time impossible, there may be an avenue for financial relief: filing for Social Security Disability benefits.

How Lupus Qualifies for SSD

Lupus is listed in the “Blue Book” of official qualifying diseases maintained by Social Security. To be eligible, you must meet medical and work-related requirements. The following are some of the criteria:

Medical Criteria

Your condition must be severe enough to preclude you from engaging in “substantial gainful activity,” as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which is calculated based on your monthly wages. In addition, your illness must be severe enough to keep you from working for an extended period. Finally, your condition must be projected to last for at least a year.

Employment-Related Criteria

In addition to the medical requirements listed above, you must have a particular number of “work credits” accumulated. Your age and other criteria determine the number of work credits required. Working and paying Social Security (FICA) taxes earns you work credits, which you can earn up to four each year. If a disability applicant has no work history – such as if your child is disabled – they may be eligible for alternative sorts of benefits that do not require work credits.

Preparing Medical Evidence For Your Application

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will request your medical documents once you apply for disability benefits. The SSA will want to review your medical history, physical exam findings, blood work laboratory results, and any x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and biopsies that your treating doctor has ordered to diagnose your lupus and its severity. Regular doctor visits should be documented in your records. Before filing for benefits, you must also show that you’ve been taking the medication your doctor prescribed for at least three months (to determine if the symptoms of the disease continue despite the prescribed treatment).

What to Expect After You Apply

An initial decision can take anywhere from three to five months. Almost two-thirds of applicants are first denied benefits, and the majority of those who file a formal appeal (called “reconsideration”) are also denied. The appeal to an administrative law judge at the third level is the most successful. Working will an experienced disability lawyer from the beginning of the application process can improve your odds of being awarded benefits.

You must be patient because more than 60% of denials are overturned at this stage. It is strongly advised to seek the representation of a disability lawyer to help you put together a strong case based on relevant medical data, so you can increase your chances of receiving benefits.

Getting Help From a Michigan Disability Lawyer

Maintaining full-time employment while living with lupus can be difficult. In addition, it can be diffiuclt to acquire Social Security disability payments for lupus. Let Disability Attorneys of Michigan help you get the disability benefits you need. An experienced attorney will know what forms must be completed, what information must be presented, and what the SSA is looking for to approve a benefits. Call us for a Free Confidential Consultation at 800-949-2900 today.



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I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.