How to Qualify For Social Security Disability With Autoimmune Disease
How to Qualify For Social Security Disability With Autoimmune Disease

If you have an autoimmune disorder, you could suffer from a variety of symptoms. When your autoimmune system is either underactive or overactive – it can cause serious issues that can leave you unable to work and earn a living. Abnormal activity of the immune system can cause cells to build up or become inflamed, and that leads to autoimmune disease like celiac disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Type I diabetes. A compromised immune system can lead to other conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease and AIDS.

If you are disabled because of an autoimmune disease, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, to determine if a claimant medically qualifies for disability benefits.

Meeting The Medical Criteria

The Blue Book has listings for a variety of disabling conditions. There are listings for different autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Each listing has very specific criteria that must be met. As an example, celiac disease is a disorder in which you are unable to eat foods that contain gluten, which is found in rye, barley, spelt, and wheat products.

If you have celiac disease, your claim will be reviewed using the listing for inflammatory bowel disease, which is Listing 5.06. You must have at least two of the following factors during a 6- month timeframe:

  • Anemia with hemoglobin of less than 10.0 g/dL
  • A tender abdominal mass with abdominal pain or cramping
  • Weight loss of at least 10 percent from your normal weight
  • The need for supplemental daily nutrition through a gastrostomy or intravenous solution

You will need to find the equivalent listing or match a listing that matches your condition most closely. Go through the Blue Book with your doctor or treating physician to find a listing that best matches your symptoms. You can then make sure you have proper medical evidence to support your claim.

Using a Medical Vocational Allowance

If you have an autoimmune disorder but you cannot match the specific criteria of the listing, you can qualify using a medical vocational allowance. This approach takes your medical conditions, age, work history, transferrable skills, and educational background all into consideration. A residual functional capacity (RFC) form completed by your physician can also be beneficial. This form will detail what you can and cannot do. As an example, it will indicate how long you can stand, how often you need to reposition, how much you can lift, how far you can walk, if you have difficulty staying focused, and so forth. The more supporting documentation that you can provide, the more likely you are to get your claim approved.

Getting Your Claim Underway

If you are unable to work because of an autoimmune disorder, you should start the claims process online or by calling 1-800-772-1213 and speaking with a representative. You can even make an appointment to apply at a nearby SSA office. Hard medical evidence is a necessity for a successful claim.

Sources: - 5_06

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