Joplin disability lawyerThe Social Security Administration will make an initial determination on your disability claim based solely on the information you provide in your application. If you have a diagnosis of lupus, filing a successful claim may be more challenging. You need a Joplin disability lawyer to help you from the start or you may not be successful.  The unfortunate reality is that these types of claims can be more difficult to get approved.  However, understanding the type of evidence you will need to support your claim, can make a big difference.

Successful social security disability claims can be hard to obtain

Applying for Social Security benefits can be difficult and somewhat intimidating if you don’t have a Joplin disability lawyer assisting you.  The process typically requires strict adherence to complex rules regarding both eligibility and the application itself. Completing the required forms accurately can be overwhelming, or maybe even confusing.  But completing them properly can improve your chances of being approved the first time.

What is lupus?

According to the National Institute of Health Systemic lupus erythematosus, or simply lupus, is an autoimmune disorder that often attacks multiple body systems simultaneously every time the condition is exacerbated. Lupus can result in a wide range of limitations that depend entirely on which body system or specific organs have been affected. As a result, the Social Security Administration evaluates the limitations caused by lupus under a variety of different impairments depending upon which body system or systems have been affected. That, in turn, makes the determination more complicated.

Why are disability claims based on a lupus diagnosis more difficult?

Lupus will be evaluated by the Social Security Administration using the immune system section of the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security Disability Handbook, more often referred to as the Social Security “Blue Book.” Despite the fact that there is a specific listing for lupus in the Social Security Blue Book, the disability criteria for lupus is not as specific as it should be.  That is basically because of the inherently complicated nature of the disorder itself. Ultimately, the Social Security Administration will analyze your claim using many other impairment listings, and that gets complicated.
For example, limitations caused by lupus are generally evaluated under other impairment listing sections that deal with impairments of the following body systems: joints, muscles, ocular, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, renal, hematological, skin, neurological, or brain. In other words, in order to be approved for Social Security disability benefits for lupus, an individual must meet the criteria established for the body system or systems affected by lupus. So, an individual with neurological problems must meet the criteria contained within the neurological listing.

What happens if you don’t meet the criteria for your symptoms?

If an individual is unable to meet the criteria established for the specific manifestation of lupus symptoms they are experiencing, they may nonetheless be able to receive Social Security disability benefits if they can demonstrate either that their lupus condition involves two body systems or organs to a lesser extent, and at least one of those body systems or organs is affected by an impairment that is considered moderately severe. They can also show that they are experiencing severe documented signs and symptoms that affect many different systems of the body such as weight loss, joint pain, and stiffness, fever, extreme tiredness, or malaise.

How does the Social Security Administration analyze my claim?

The Social Security Administration will refer to your medical history, lab studies, medical imaging (x-ray, blood test, scans, MRI, CT scans, etc.), and even biopsies to determine the existence, duration, and severity of your lupus. In addition to medical documentation, the Social Security Administration will require a treatment record of at least three months in order to establish that an active impairment exists, even with the current treatment and that the condition is expected to last twelve months or longer.

Basic requirements for disability benefits

Regardless of whether your claim is based on a physical or mental illness, you must be able to prove that it is so severe that it stops you from being able to sustain a full-time job.  This is often referred to as “substantial gainful activity.”  Generally speaking, you must show that you are unable to work at or over the SGA or “substantial gainful activity” level for at least a year. This year, the SGA is defined as earning $1,090 a month working.  This amount is typically adjusted every year to reflect inevitable changes in the economy.
If you have questions regarding disability based on lupus or any other social security disability matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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