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Social Security Disability SSI and Filing based on Lupus

These selected pages answer some of the most basic, but also some of the most important, questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim for disability benefits.

About the disorder

SLE or lupus is an inflammatory immune disorder that can affect any body part. For example, SLE may harm joints, heart, kidneys, lungs, skin, blood vessels or even the nervous system. While lupus is incurable and can be fatal it can most often be treatable. Unfortunately the disease course is often unpredictable because of alternating periods of exacerbation and remission. The symptoms of lupus are severe fatigue, joint pain, fever, myalgias, involuntary weight loss, skin rashes, anemia, headaches, and multitude of other potential symptoms dependant upon the body system or organ affected.

Significant organ or body system involvement might include the following conditions: cardiovascular (pericarditis, vasculitis, endocarditis, myocarditis), respiratory (pneumonitis, pleuritis), neurological (seizures), renal (glomerulonephritis) hematologic (leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia), mental (mood disorders, anxiety, fluctuating cognition or lupus fog, psychosis, organic brain syndrome), skin (ulcers, rashes, photo sensitivity), or even other immune disorders (inflammatory arthritis).

How the social security administration evaluates Lupus cases

Social Security has a specific impairment listing in their disability guidebook or blue book, as it is more commonly known. Impairment listing 14.02 lists the criteria needed to meet or medically equal the severity requirements of the Social Security disability program if a person has SLE or lupus.

The disability applicant must have a diagnosis of SLE or lupus with: A. involvement of two or more body systems or organs. Additionally, one of the organs or body systems must involve at least a moderate level of severity; and two or more constitutional signs or symptoms (i.e. fever, severe fatigue, malaise, or involuntary weight loss). OR B. Recurring manifestations of SLE, with two or more of the constitutional symptoms or signs and one of the following at a severe or marked level:

1. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

2. Limitation in completing tasks timely because of deficiencies in persistence, pace, or concentration.

3. Limitation of activities of daily living.

Social Security considers the affects of lupus as it does any other medical or mental impairment. Lupus is a severe impairment if it prevents a person from working at a self-supportive level (Social Security has a monthly earnings amount that it considers self supporting – SGA) for twelve continuous months or more.

If a person does not specifically meet or equal the listing severity criteria of the lupus impairment listing, they may still be approved for disability benefits. Social Security has another method of approving individuals for disability. If a person is unable to work because of the limitations of lupus, they may be approved for disability through a medical vocational allowance.

Social Security disability examiners are able to consider a person’s residual functional capacity (what they are able to do in spite of limitations of their lupus), age, education, past work activity and their ability to perform other types of work when their limitations are considered. If the disability examiner finds that their residual functional capacity is so restrictive it precludes their past work or jobs or any other work, they may be approved for disability benefits.

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

Related Body System Impairments:

Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI with Crohn's Disease
Facts about Crohn's Disease and Filing for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI and Filing based on Lupus
Polychondritis and Filing for Disability
Bursitis and Filing for Disability
Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease and Filing for Disability
Costochondritis and Filing for Disability
Ankylosing Spondylitis and Filing for Disability
Polymyositis and Filing for Disability
Hidradenitis Suppurativa and Filing for Disability
Behcet's disease and Filing for Disability
Lupus, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits

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.

How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
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