Qualifying for Disability Benefits (SSDI) with Lupus in Pennsylvania

Lupus is a serious autoimmune disease which can cause a host of debilitating symptoms, including fatigue, chest pain, rashes, skin lesions, major weight loss, shortness of breath, and stiffness and swelling in the joints.  If your lupus symptoms prevent you from working or severely limit the amount of work that you can perform, you may be eligible to receive monthly disability benefits to help make up the lost income.  These benefits, which are divided into SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month.

But while SSI and SSDI offer tremendous financial relief, the process of qualifying can be a challenge.  Average rejection rates heavily outweigh average approval rates, and in most states, applicants are far more likely to receive a denial notice than an award.  At Young, Marr & Associates, our Bensalem social security disability lawyers are devoted to helping Pennsylvania applicants aggressively pursue the benefits they deserve.  We have more than two decades of experience filing thousands of claims, and can appeal a denial if you’ve already been rejected by the Social Security Administration.

To learn more about how we can assist you in a free and completely private legal consultation, call the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates at (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania today.

Eligibility Requirements for SSI and SSDI Benefits

There are actually two separate sets of criteria for each and every disability applicant, regardless of whether you intend to file for SSI or SSDI: the general requirements which apply to everyone, and the specific medical requirements which vary by illness. Before we go over the SSA’s medical criteria for evaluating lupus claims, let’s examine the basic criteria.

First, your condition must be extremely severe.  Remember, the SSA wants to ensure that benefits are awarded only to people who cannot work, which means that people who can control and suppress their conditions are unlikely to be considered disabled from the SSA’s perspective.  If the SSA thinks you can eliminate your symptoms by taking medication or participating in other treatments, your claim is unlikely to succeed.

filing for social security disability benefits

Next, your condition must be long-term.  That means your condition:

  • Has already lasted for 12 months, at minimum.
  • Is expected to last for 12 months, at minimum.
  • Is expected to result in death.

Finally, if you are working you must not be earning more than the 2015 income limit for SSDI or SSI.  However, not all income is necessarily counted toward the income limit.  The SSA expresses income limits as “SGA,” which stands for “Substantial Gainful Activity.” Income limits are therefore sometimes referred to as SGA limits.

Medical Criteria for Lupus Disability Claims

If you think you satisfy the generic criteria noted above, you’re ready to look at the medical requirements used specifically to evaluate lupus claims.  These requirements are outlined in the Listing of Impairments or “Blue Book” under Section 14.00 (Immune System Disorders) at 14.02 (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or SLE).

Under Section 14.02, there are two ways to qualify for benefits with lupus:

  • At least two of your organs or body systems are involved.  To qualify in this way, you must also demonstrate both of the following:
    • The effects on the involved organs and/or body systems are moderate to extremely severe.
    • You have at least two symptoms from the following list: malaise, fever, severe fatigue, involuntary weight loss.
  • You have “repeated manifestations of SLE,” which are marked by at least two symptoms from the following list: fever, involuntary weight loss, severe fatigue, and/or malaise.  To qualify in this way, you must also demonstrate at least one of the following:
    • Limited daily activities.
    • Limited social function.
    • Limited ability to “complet[e] tasks in a timely manner” caused by difficulties with “concentration, persistence, or pace.”

Do not be discouraged if your lupus symptoms can’t quite match the criteria supplied by the Listing.  Many people cannot match the Listing, but are still able to qualify based on something called a medical-vocational allowance.  Our attorneys will help you identify the possible ways you could qualify based on your symptoms and limitations.  Depending on how advanced your symptoms are, you may even be eligible for expedited, fast-track processing.

Pennsylvania Disability Lawyers Offering Free Consultations

To start discussing your legal options in a completely free and confidential case evaluation, call the Pennsylvania disability attorneys of Young, Marr & Associates right away at (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.