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Does lupus qualify as a disability for Social Security?

Is lupus considered a disabling condition by Social Security?

It depends.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of qualifying impairments in what is unofficially known as its "Blue Book." Lupus is included on this list -- which means that you can more easily qualify for disability benefits due to lupus than some other conditions that are not on the list.

However, a diagnosis alone won't qualify you for benefits -- Social Security won't consider you too disabled to work unless you have other evidence that shows exactly how your condition limits your ability to work.

What sort of evidence does Social Security look for when they're trying to make a determination of disability?

1. Proof of your impairment

Some disabilities are hard to prove -- and lupus can be one of them. Generally, lupus is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other conditions have to be ruled out before lupus can be ruled in. However, SSA will look for evidence that you suffer from:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen joints
  • Anemia
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fever
  • Involuntary weight loss
  • The involvement of two or more of your bodily systems or organs

This is why it's so important to have good documentation of your illness.

2. Proof that your condition is severe

The Social Security Administration will generally look for signs that your condition is severe by looking at your work or school record and talking to people that know you personally. Some signs that your condition is truly limiting include:

  • Evidence of accommodation on the job
  • A record of absences from school or work
  • A record of frequent treatment with a physician
  • Evidence that you're unable to do many of the things you enjoy

There's a lot of pressure on SSA representatives these days to avoid giving benefits to anyone that isn't severely disabled -- but that often makes it difficult for people who truly deserve benefits to be approved. If you're having trouble obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, an attorney can help protect your rights and guide you.

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