When a person struggles with a medical condition that negatively impacts their long-term ability to work and provide for themselves, they may qualify for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).
Do you struggle with some form of mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD)? If so, you may qualify for disability benefits, or SSD. This guide will offer some basic information about the topic. That said, it may be wise to enlist the help of a lawyer when applying for benefits. They could help you demonstrate your eligibility.
Blue Book Listing For Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
The SSA's (Social Security Administration) Blue Book is a resource that disability examiners use when determining whether a disability benefits applicant is eligible for SSD. The Blue Book provides a list of impairments and medical conditions that are severe enough to prevent an individual from performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
Mixed connective tissue disease is a condition involving a combination of symptoms from various autoimmune disorders, including Lupus, Scleroderma, and Polymyositis. The Blue Book includes listings for each of these conditions separately. However, it offers no specific listing for MCTD.
Proving Your Mixed Connective Tissue Disease is Severe Enough for SSD
Although the Blue Book does not have a specific listing for mixed connective tissue disease, an individual with MCTD might nevertheless be eligible for disability benefits if they meet the criteria for one of the listed conditions. For example, if an individual with MCTD has symptoms consistent with lupus, they may meet the criteria for the listing for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in the Blue Book.
Someone with mixed connective tissue disease could show they are eligible for disability benefits if their condition(s) affects at least two organs or body symptoms and:
- The effect on at least one of the organs or body symptoms is at least moderately severe, and
- They struggle with at least two constitutional signs/symptoms, such as major fatigue, unwanted weight loss, or general fatigue.
Or, a person with MCTD could be eligible for SSD if they experience “repeated manifestations of undifferentiated or mixed connective tissue disease,” a minimum of two constitutional signs/symptoms, and a marked level of at least one of the following:
- Limitation in their ability to participate in daily living activities
- Limitation in their ability to consistently function socially
- Limitation in their ability to complete certain tasks in a timely manner
To determine whether an individual with MCTD meets the criteria for disability benefits, the SSA will consider the individual's symptoms, medical records, and any limitations or restrictions the condition causes. Evidence that someone with MCTD qualifies for disability benefits might also take the form of a doctor’s note or results from a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.
Applying for Disability Benefits
Unfortunately, you cannot assume you will easily secure the disability benefits for which you may be eligible when you first submit an application. Due to such factors as technical problems with applications, lack of sufficient medical evidence, and more, the SSA denies approximately two-thirds of all initial applications.