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Facts about Hyperthyroidism and Filing for Disability
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.
Facts about the condition
1. Hyperthyroidism means the thyroid gland is overactive, a condition in which the gland produces too much of its hormones for the body's needs. This drastically increases the rate of metabolism, resulting in rapid weight loss, abnormal heartbeat (racing pulse, irregular beat or palpitations), sweating, nervousness and anxiety, and irritability.
2. The thyroid gland, located at the front base of the neck, produces hormones that controls body temperature and the rate the body uses food energy, influences heart rate, and influences regulation of protein production and the amount of calcium in the blood.
3. Older adults are less likely to have symptoms, or to have minimal symptoms. Typically minor symptoms in older adults include increased heart rate, heat sensitivity, and becoming overly tired during regular daily activities.
4. Medications used for high blood pressure (beta blockers), which are primarily used among older adults, may result in masking the already minimal symptoms of the condition and further delaying a diagnosis.
5. Hyperthyroidism can occur for several different reasons. The most common is Grave's disease. an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and results in the gland overproducing to compensate.
6. Another condition, Plummer's disease (also called toxic adenoma or toxic multinodular goiter), comes from adenomas that form as a blocked off part of the thyroid gland. Some adenomas may form noncancerous lumps, cause swelling of the thyroid, and produce too much hormone.
7. Thyroiditis may also occur, which causes the gland to swell and leak stored hormones into the blood stream. Thyroiditis can be painful, but usually is not. Pregnancy is one cause of thyroiditis.
8. Testing for hyperthyroidism is simple and involves a blood sample. Once the sample confirms hyperthyroidism, imaging tests can be performed to help determine what is causing the overproduction of hormones and to help decide how to best treat the problem.
9. Treatment involves oral medications. In some cases the thyroid gland may be partially or fully removed.
Qualifying 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 and treatment notes that 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 also includes discharge summaries from hospital stays, reports of imaging studies (such as xrays, MRIs, and CT scans) and lab panels (i.e. bloodwork) as well as reports from physical therapy.
In many disability claims, it may also include the results of a report issued by an independent physician who examines you at the request of the Social Security Administration.
Qualifying for SSD or SSI benefits 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. In the case of adults, your work history information will allow a disability examiner (examiners make decisions at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels, but not at the hearing level where a judges decides the outcome of the case) to A) classify your past work, B) determine the physical and mental demands of your past work, C) decide if you can go back to a past job, and D) whether or not you have the ability to switch to some type of other work.
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?
There are several reasons but here are just two:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant's disability attorney or disability representative will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge.
Note: it is not enough for a doctor to simply state that their patient is disabled. To satisy Social Security's requirements, the physician must list in what ways and to what extent the individual is functionally limited. For this reason, many representatives and attorneys request that the physician fill out and sign a specialized medical source statement that captures the correct information. Solid Supporting statements from physicians easily make the difference between winning or losing a disability case at the hearing level.
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. This is because at the initial levels of the disability system, a disability examiner decides the case without meeting the claimant. The examiner may contact the claimant to gather information on activities of daily living and with regard to medical treatment or past jobs, but usually nothing more. At the hearing level, however, presenting an argument for approval based on medical evidence that has been obtained and submitted is exactly what happens.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Related Body System Impairments:
Addison's disease and Filing for Disability
Peripheral Neuropathy and Filing for Disability
Peripheral Neuropathy, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Cushing's Syndrome and Filing for Disability
Gastric Bypass and Filing for Disability
Hypothyroidism and Filing for Disability
Hyperthyroidism and Filing for Disability
Inflammatory bowel disease and Filing for Disability
Irritable bowel syndrome and Filing for Disability
Morbid Obesity and Filing for Disability
Pancreatitis and Filing for Disability
POS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Filing for Disability
Type 2 Diabetes and Filing for Disability
Diabetes, 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