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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

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Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits

Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Polychondritis and Filing for Disability

1. Polychondritis is characterized by cartilage deterioration and inflammation in the body - most often in the ears, nose, and trachea (windpipe), but also in the joints, eyes, spine, blood vessels and heart. It is a serious, chronic, and progressive disease. It is also episodic and most often referred to as ‘relapsing polychondritis’.

2. Polychondritis is also known as atrophic polychondritis, chronic atrophic polychondritis, systemic chondromalacia, von Meyenburg’s disease, Meyenburg-Altherr-Uehlinger syndrome, systemic chondromalacia, and generalized chondromalacia.

3. Polychondritis is more prevalent in whites, but can be found in all races. It can be found in all age groups, but most often is found in those in their 50’s. It is thought to be more prevalent in females, but only slightly.

4. Inflammation due to polychondritis can cause deformity in the ears (floppy ears) and nose (saddle nose). It can also cause cataracts in the eyes, and breathing issues when it affects the windpipe.

5. Symptoms of polychondritis include fever, pain, swollen and red ears, high white blood cell count, difficulties with vision, eye inflammation, collapsed nasal bridge, joint pain or tenderness, nasal congestion, fatigue, inner ear inflammation, and more. Less common symptoms include inflammation of the heart tissue and tissue around the heart, heart valve abnormalities, aortic inflammation, and kidney dysfunction and inflammation.

6. The cause is unknown, though it is thought that polychondritis may be an auto immune disease. Those with polychondritis often have an autoimmune disorder as well.

7. There are no specific tests to determine and diagnose polychondritis, and treatment can be unpredictable but usually involves nonsterioidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone-related medications.

8. Polychondritis is a serious disease, and although it can be mild for some patients and controlled with medications, in others it can be fatal due to aneurysm and aortic valve weakness. It may also cause hearing loss.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria