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Lupus

Getting Social Security Benefits for Your Lupus

Definition

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. The body's immune system normally makes proteins called antibodies to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials. For people with lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then starts attacking its own cells and tissues, causing inflammation, injury to tissues, and pain. The information below was obtained from the Lupus Foundation of America at www.lupus.org.

Types of Lupus

The term "lupus" is used when talking about many different forms of the disease. When someone says, "I have lupus," he or she could be affected in many different ways depending on the type of lupus present.

Cutaneous (skin) lupus: affects primarily the skin, but may also involve the hair and mucous membranes. It is frequently referred to as discoid lupus. Within lupus of the skin, there are types that cause different looking rashes and symptoms. These include:

  • Acute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (ACLE)
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE)
  • Chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CCLE) or Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE)

Other terms used to describe specific forms of chronic cutaneous lupus include: verrucous DLE, lupus profundus, mucosal DLE, palmar-plantar (hands and feet) DLE, and lupus tumidus.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): can affect any system or organ in the body including the joints, skin, lungs, heart, blood, kidney, or nervous system. Symptoms of SLE can range from being a minor inconvenience to very serious and even life threatening. A person may experience no pain or they may experience extreme pain, especially in the joints. There may be no skin manifestations or rashes that are disfiguring. They may have no organ involvement or extreme organ damage. Most often when people mention "lupus," they are referring to the systemic form of the disease.

Drug-induced lupus erythematosus (DILE): is a side effect of long-term use of certain medications. Some symptoms overlap with those of SLE. Once the suspected medication is stopped, symptoms should decline within days and usually disappear within one or two weeks.

Neonatal lupus: is a rare condition acquired from the passage of maternal autoantibodies, specifically anti-Ro/SSA or anti-La/SSB, which can affect the skin, heart and blood of the fetus and newborn. It is associated with a rash that appears within the first several weeks of life and may persist for about six months before disappearing. Congenital heart block is much less common than the skin rash. Neonatal lupus is not SLE.

Lupus in Overlap: The majority of people with lupus have lupus alone. Between five and thirty percent of people with lupus report having overlap symptoms characteristic of one or more connective tissue diseases. There are several well-recognized overlaps that may affect people with lupus including: lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus and myositis, lupus and systemic sclerosis (SSc or scleroderma), lupus and Sjogren's syndrome (SS).

Social Security Benefits

For most people, lupus is a mild disease affecting only a few organs. For others, it may cause serious and even life-threatening problems. If your lupus interferes with your ability to work, you may qualify for social security benefits. Social Security requires certain symptoms from Lupus before a benefits award will be given. For example, Social Security requires that your lupus involve your joints, muscles, vision, breathing, heart, digestion, kidneys, blood, skin or mind in particular ways before benefits will be awarded.

Social Security Process

Social Security evaluates each person's claim for benefits using the following five steps:

  1. Are you working? If you are working in 2006 and your earnings average more than $860 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If your back injury prevents you from working, we go to Step 2.
  2. Is your condition "severe"? Your back injury interferes with basic work-related activities, you claim will be considered. If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled. If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.
  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? For each of the major body systems, we maintain a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. Some back conditions that appear on this list are stenosis, degenerative disc disease, lumbar back pain with positive straight leg raising tests, and nerve root compression. If your back condition is not on the list, we have to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, we will find that you are disabled. If it is not, we then go to Step 4.
  4. Can you do the work you did previously? If your condition is severe but not at the same or equal level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then we must determine if the back pain interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, we proceed to Step 5.
  5. Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do the work you did in the past, we see if you are able to adjust to other work. We consider your medical conditions and your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills you may have. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim.

At Disability Group, we understand how hard life can become with a back injury. Our experienced staff will guide you through the process of getting your disability benefits. We understand what medical evidence is required to prove your case and we will work diligently at obtaining, analyzing and preparing your case for a favorable decision. Contact us for a free evaluation of your case, by internet at www.socialsecuritydisabilityhelpcenter.com or by phone at (888) BENEFITS.

A professional will help you at all levels of the administrative process to:

  • A representative will work with you and assist you with your initial SSI & SSDI application, with filing your request with Social Security Administration for reconsideration, requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge or filing an appeal with the Appeals council.
  • Analyze your case under Federal Social Security Disability Regulations. Obtain a copy of your file from the Office of hearings & Appeals to ensure that it reflects all your past medical treatment and that all records and documents contained therein are admissible as evidence.
  • Ask that any prior SSI & SSDI applications for benefits be reopened.
  • Protect your right to a fair hearing.
  • Make any necessary Social Security appeals.
  • A representative will work with you and assist you with your initial SSI & SSDI application, with filing your request with Social Security Administration for reconsideration, requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge or filing an appeal with the Appeals council.
  • We are not retained until the contract is countersigned.

Please contact our SSDI lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation. Jacoby & Meyers has offices nationwide.