Immune system disorders can cause severe infections, tissue inflammation, and even organ failure. They can be serious enough to prevent someone from working, which is why the Social Security Administration (SSA) may award disability to patients suffering from these issues. But having an immune system disorder doesn’t necessarily guarantee you will receive disability. If you suffer from any of the immune system disorders mentioned below and you’re ready to apply for disability benefits, or the SSA wrongfully turned down your request, you have legal options.
Nikolaus & Hohenadel has helped numerous clients with immune system conditions claim the disability benefits they need. We can get started on your case today.
How Immune System Disorders Affect Your Job
The immune system defends the body against disease-causing pathogens like bacteria and viruses. When the immune system isn’t working properly, the body is at risk of developing diseases and allergies. Sometimes the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body, a condition known as an autoimmune disease.
Every individual is affected differently by an immune or autoimmune condition. In the most severe cases, a patient could experience organ failure, chronic fatigue, pain, fever, and much more. These complications make it difficult and perhaps impossible to engage in normal daily activities, including working. The SSA recognizes this, which is where Social Security Disability (SSD) comes in.
SSD And Your Immune System Disorder
When you apply for SSD, you have to support your application with sufficient medical documentation. The SSA will review your medical records, including opinions from doctors, the details of your symptoms, and lab test results. Having up-to-date, comprehensive documentation will increase the likelihood that an applicant will be awarded SSD.
During the SSA review of your medical records, a case reviewer will compare the symptoms of your condition to the information contained within its listings of impairments, which are also called the Listings or the Blue Book. If you meet the criteria contained within the specific listing that covers your condition, you will likely qualify for disability.
Generally, the SSA groups immune system disorders into one of three categories:
Autoimmune disorders. These include lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus), systemic vasculitis, systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), polymyositis, dermatomyositis, inflammatory arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and more.
Immune deficiency disorders (other than HIV). These comprise infections that are resistant to treatment or require frequent hospitalization or IV treatment. These conditions include sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, septic arthritis, endocarditis, and sinusitis.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HIV infection may be indicated by increased susceptibility to common infections as well as opportunistic infections, cancers, or other conditions.
What If I Don’t Meet The SSA’s Listings?
It’s relatively difficult for an applicant to meet the strict criteria outlined in the SSA’s listings of impairments. What if you are too sick to work, but your symptoms don’t match the Listings? There’s another option for receiving SSD, using something called your residual functional capacity (RFC).
As with the Listings, the SSA will review your medical records to understand the nature of your immune system disorder. In addition, the SSA wants to know what sort of physical limitations you have and how they affect your ability to work. In other words, Social Security is trying to understand how much work you can do despite your medical condition.
After analyzing this information, the SSA will determine your RFC. Your RFC is the most amount of work that you can consistently and regularly perform. It includes consideration of your ability to sit, stand, walk, and engage in other forms of work-related physical exertion. The RFC is essentially what Social Security believes you can do for work, how long you can do it, and how frequently.
Your RFC may rule out any chance that you can return to your previous employment. But the SSA also has to consider whether there are other jobs you can do or adapt to, despite your condition. If you cannot go back to your previous job, and there’s not another job you can perform, you will likely qualify for disability.
How Can A Disability Attorney Help With Benefits For Immune System Disorders?
The right attorney will not only have a thorough understanding of Social Security disability law but will know specifically what the SSA wants to see concerning your immune system condition. That starts with making sure your medical records are well-documented and contain enough details to demonstrate the nature of your disease. If possible, your attorney will work to show that you meet the SSA’s complex Listings and should therefore receive disability.
It may be necessary to claim disability by using your RFC. To that end, and depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney will try to show that your condition is severe enough that you are incapable of doing any job. This will require gathering any records concerning your previous work experience. Your work documents should include past job titles and positions held, plus details about your job duties and responsibilities. It’s a good idea to collect at least 15 years of previous work records.
Your lawyer will work with you to gather all necessary records and will help you submit a compelling application to Social Security. If you were previously denied SSD because of an erroneous decision by a case reviewer, an attorney can help you appeal. Many first-time applicants are wrongfully rejected, but they have the right to appeal.
Contact Our Lancaster Social Security Disability Attorneys For Patients With Immune System Disorders
If you’re unable to work because of an immune system disorder, or you have questions about the process to apply for disability, reach out to Nikolaus & Hohenadel. We may also be able to appeal an adverse SSA decision. The most important thing you can do is not delay. Call now to schedule your confidential consultation.v