Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits with a Skin Disorder?

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who cannot work due to a disability, you may be able to qualify for monthly disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, being approved is notoriously tough, and the SSA imposes strict requirements for eligibility.  It’s important to understand how your medical condition will be evaluated when your application is being reviewed, and in this entry of our “Can I Qualify?” blog series, we’ll be taking a look at skin problems.

Skin Disorders That Can Qualify You for Disability Benefits

We tend to think of our skin as a simple covering for our bones and muscles, but in fact, the skin is a complex organ that plays a vital role in maintaining overall physical health.  The skin is the largest organ of the entire body, and when it is damaged, the consequences can be dire.

The good news is, if you’re living with a skin condition in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, you may be a strong candidate for SSA benefits.  The SSA evaluates skin conditions under Section 8.00 of its Listing of Impairments.

Under Section 8.00, listed conditions include:

  • Ichthyosis (Section 8.02)
  • Bullous Disease (Section 8.03)
  • Chronic Skin or Mucuous Membrane Infections (Section 8.04)
  • Dermatitis (Section 8.05)
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa (Section 8.06)
  • Genetic Photosensitivity Disorders (Section 8.07)
  • Burns (Section 8.08)

If you don’t see your skin condition listed, don’t get discouraged.  While the Listing of Impairments is an important reference, it doesn’t cover every possible medical issue (such as rare conditions).  The SSA’s own Listing overview states, “The absence of a listing-level impairment does not mean the individual is not disabled.”

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What Requirements Does My Skin Condition Have to Meet To Be a Disability?

The short answer to this question is that all skin conditions are different, meaning each condition is evaluated based on its own specific requirements.  These requirements are meant to ensure that the claimant’s disability is not simply present, but actually severe enough to prevent him or her from working for a period of at least 12 months.


According to the American Burn Association, roughly 450,000 burn injuries will require medical treatment in the U.S. every year, making burns one of the more common skin conditions. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most painful injuries to heal from.  The SSA’s requirements for burn injuries are very simple, stating only that they must have caused “extensive skin lesions.”


Dermatitis is inflammation of the skin.  Your dermatitis may include psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, dyshidrosis, or other conditions.  As with burns, the requirements are simple: your dermatitis must be associated with “extensive skin lesions that persist for at least 3 months despite continuing treatment as prescribed.”

The exact same requirement applies to Bullous Disease (which may include pemphigus, epidermolysis bullosa, dermatitis herpetiformis, or other conditions) and ichthyosis.

This requirement is also very similar for chronic skin and mucous membrane infections, with the added point that the extensive skin lesions must be either fungating or ulcerating.

The full official text of the SSA medical requirements for skin disorders can be viewed here.

Whether you’re still on the fence about applying for disability, or you’ve already been denied the SSA, our experienced disability lawyers are here to help no matter what stage of the process you’ve reached.   To schedule your free and confidential case evaluation, call the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online.