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Applying for Social Security Disability with Lupus

Elizabeth Savage

August 2014

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the body's immune system to attack healthy tissues. It can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other body parts, but is hard to diagnose because it mimics many other diseases. The disease is often marked by joint pain — often developing into arthritis and other autoimmune diseases — a distinctive facial rash, chronic fatigue, and headaches and brain fog.

Lupus appears to be largely a genetic condition, but can be triggered by things like stress, sunlight and certain types of medication. Nine times out of ten, women are more commonly affected than men and minority women more than Caucasian women. The condition can lead to complications in the affected areas, as well as increased risk of infections. There is no cure, but treating lupus can be expensive. Depending on your particular case, you may also have difficulty working due to the wide range of symptomatic complications associated with the disease. Consider applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help offset these costs.

For more information on the Lupus Foundation of Southern California (LFSC), visit: 

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The Disability Programs

If your lupus case keeps you from earning a living, you may qualify for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSDI is a benefits service for working adults and their families. In order to be eligible for SSDI, you must have paid Social Security taxes out of your paycheck for a number of years. You will need to present a substantial work history in order to demonstrate this. SSI takes into consideration income limitations rather than employment history. To qualify for SSI, you must meet strict low-income criteria based on an assessment of your resources and other finances.

For more information on the disability programs, visit:

Medically Qualifying for Benefits

The SSA uses a guidebook of technical medical listings to determine eligibility for benefits. This guidebook, called the blue book, is published online and is divided into separate sections for adults and children. All applicants will need to meet a listing or match one in severity in order to qualify for benefits.

Lupus is found in section 14.02 of Immune Disorders. There are two ways to meet this listing:

· There is demonstrated involvement of two or more organs/body systems, with one of the parts involved to at least a moderate level of severity and at least two of the constitutional symptoms. These could be fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss.

· There is evidence of repeated manifestations of systematic lupus erythematosus, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms and one of the following at the marked level:

 Limitation of activities of daily living.

 Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

 Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

For more information on medically qualifying for benefits with Lupus, visit:

The Application Process

The application for Social Security disability benefits can be completed online or in person. Before you begin the application, gather all medical documentation relevant to your lupus case. This includes record of medical treatments, lab results, and doctor's notes. You should also prepare all the information required by the program for which you are applying. If you're applying for SSDI, you will need a record of employment, demonstrating that you have paid into the Social Security pool. If you are applying for SSI, you will need financial information to demonstrate you meet the financial limits.

You can expect to wait around three to four months for a decision, but some applications can take a year or longer to process. In the event your application is denied, you may choose to appeal the decision. The appeal can be initiated online and must be begun within 60 days. Applying for Social Security Disability benefits with lupus is fairly straightforward since it has its own blue book listing, but the process may still be confusing and there are many requirements you must make sure you meet. Staying organized and treating the application process like a job may help you in the end. Those with lupus may find that these benefits can help them manage their symptoms and afford necessities, allowing them to live a very normal life.

A Helpful Guide to Applying for Social Security Disability with Lupus

Elizabeth Savage

Social Security Disability Help

It goes without saying that many of the people who suffer from Lupus are unable to maintain the responsibilities of full-time employment. The resulting lack of income is often compounded by disability-related medical expenses, causing a serious financial burden. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help. If you are interested in applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to the impact that Lupus has had on your life, the following information can aid you in the application process and will help you understand how the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews disability claims based on a diagnosis of Lupus.

If you are in the process of finding out about Social Security Disability and are getting ready to apply for the disability benefits, it can seem a daunting task to deal with all the details. If your Lupus impedes your ability to perform your regular job and seems as though it may impede your work in the future, you are entitled to benefits. Once you are out of work, and have proof of your disease, you should begin your application for Social Security Disability.

You can apply in person at a Social Security office near you or do the whole process online. If you choose to apply in person, it is best to call and set up an appointment to make sure you get to meet a Social Security Administration representative. Whether you decide to do it at home from your computer or visit the office, please make sure that you have all the required paper work before embarking on the application process. Here is a useful check list for those starting out with applying for Social Security Disability Insurance:

1. You will need your W-2 from the last year pr IRS 1040; if you are self-employed you will be required to submit Schedules C and SE.

2. If you have been in the military, have the military service discharge information for all the periods when you have been in active duty – this is Form DD 214.

3. The Social Security numbers of your spouse and minor children will be needed in case there is a question of family eligibility for your disability benefits.

4. If you need to set up Direct Deposit for your Social Security Disability checks, you will need your bank account number – checking or savings – and a bank routing number.

Other than this core information, your application will need to be supported by reports that can help establish your Lupus and its impact on your work:

1. A complete medical record which offers a chronological history of your Lupus from the time it surfaced to its current severity.

2. It is best to include a list of all the doctors who have treated you and the hospitals and clinics that you have visited as a patient in this time.

3. Include a list of your medications and frequency of usage.

4. A sequential report of all the medical tests that you have taken and a copy of the results will also help in establishing your diseases.

5. A list of referrals of people who know of your Lupus and its effect on your ability to perform your regular job. Try and include complete contact information to make it easy for the Disability Determination Service to reach your referrals.

6. It will help Social Security Administration make an accurate assessment of the impact of the disability if you can give a complete record of your work history – the jobs you have done and the levels of responsibility.

7. It is also considered pertinent to provide information about your workers’ compensation claims and offer details of insurance claims that you may have filed.

If your application is substantiated with all this background information, there will be less room for the decision makers to dismiss your claims. Social Security Administration, more specifically the Disability Determination Services, assesses each application to determine the validity of the medical and non-medical aspects of the application. So, all the proof that you can offer to establish the severity of your disability and to show that you are unable to work and get your regular income will help your case.

An integral part of preparing the application for Social Security Disability is to know that there is a possibility of the claim being denied. Do keep in mind that you have the option to appeal if you disagree with the decision. It is best to keep a copy of all your application material to make your case during appeal. There are professional services, attorneys and other advocacy professionals who can help you with the application or appeals process if it becomes necessary.

Social Security Disability application is a notoriously long-winded process and you can do your bit to make it smooth and easy by using our check-list and ensuring that you have a clear understanding of what is needed. It is worth taking a few extra days to get all your material together rather than submit an incomplete application that will be denied and will again have to wait to be processed. A complete application package with all the relevant information will go a long way in making a strong case about your disability and your need for Social Security Disability insurance. Remember, if you cannot work due to your Lupus, you deserve benefits. If you stay organized and positive, you will be successful in the end.

John Dowling is the Senior Editor of Social Security Disability Help, the web’s ultimate resource for guiding people with disabilities to the benefits they deserve. For more information, feel free to visit

Social Security Disability Help

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Elizabeth Savage

A Digest

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