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Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

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 Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease and Filing for Disability

1. Undifferentiated, or mixed, connective tissue disease combines symptoms of lupus, scleroderma and polymyositis, and sometimes also rheumatoid arthritis, making it an overlap disease. Mixed connective tissue disease typically first presents like lupus, but the diagnosis is updated as new symptoms begin to occur.

2. Just like the conditions it mimics, mild connective tissue disease is an autoimmune disorder. This means that the body's immune system accidentally attacks healthy tissue.

3. Symptoms are nonspecific and can be attributed to a lot of different conditions. They primarily include malaise, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, swelling of joints, hands and fingers, and Reynaud's disease (abnormal blood flow in fingers and toes).

4. Medical professionals and researchers do not know what causes mixed connective tissue disease or what increases the risk of developing the condition. It is evident than women are more likely than men to have mixed connective tissue disease.

5. Women with mixed connective tissue disease may experience complications with pregnancy. The research is conflicting, but some studies show that women with the condition may experience flares up of symptoms during pregnancy. The primary health concern is that their babies are at an increased risk for low birth weight.

6. One of the biggest health complications for people with mixed connective tissue disease is high blood pressure in the lungs, called pulmonary hypertension. This causes trouble breathing and is the leading cause of death for those with mixed connective tissue disease. Heart disease, particularly enlargement and inflammation, is also a risk for those with this condition.

7. Treatment of the condition is typically with the use of corticosteroids, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen), and immunosuppressant drugs such as those used for lupus. Corticosteroid use can cause additional health concerns, such as bone loss, weakened muscles, and increased infections.

8. Those with mixed connective tissue disease may want to try alternative therapies such as acupuncture, fish oil supplements, hypnosis and relaxation techniques. These have relatively few and minor side effects but may prove helpful at managing the condition.

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