Scleroderma is classified as an autoimmune disease which affects your body’s connective tissue. No one knows at present what causes it. It may just affect the skin or in some situations may affect internal organ.
What makes scleroderma serious is how it can become quite disabling as it can cause joints to swell up, as well as pain and numbness to your hands and feet. If the lungs are affected or the digestive system both the esophagus and the lungs can become inflamed.
Eligibility for Social Security Disability (SSDI) Benefits for Scleroderma
Many diseases, which include scleroderma, are found in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book listing. Being in the listing in the Blue Book is a good start, but to confirm your eligibility for SSDI benefits approval your illness has to meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) listing criteria. The quickest way to get your SSDI benefits approved is to submit your medical records to the SSA. However you still have to meet certain criteria such as:
- your scleroderma is affecting at least two of your body’s organs like the skin or the pulmonary system and at least one is moderately severely affected.
- you are experiencing a fever;
- you suffer from malaise;
- you suffer from severe fatigue;
- you experience unexpected weight loss;
- you suffer from atrophy or contractures;
- you suffer from toe contractures or deformities in either one or both your feet that stop you from walking sufficiently in order to carry out routine daily activities without the aid of an assistive device;
- you suffer from finger contractures or deformities in two hands which stop you from undertaking certain movements such as the lifting of objects, the sorting of papers, the holding of a pen, or the tying of your shoe.
Once you have filed your claim for SSDI benefits, the SSA will consider your age, educational level, work experience, how much you have paid in social security payments over time, your ability to carry out work which involves less strenuous activity and if you possess other skills that would help you get employment.
The SSA may ask for a medical evaluation which it pays for, but it chooses a physician. If you don’t completely fit the SSDI criteria the SSA will prepare what is called a residual functional capacity assessment (RFC). This will indicate what parts of your body are affected by scleroderma, such as your arms, so that you can be matched with a job that does not depend on you using your arms.
Applying For SSDI Benefits and How Much You May Receive for Scleroderma
SSDI benefits do lay out stiff criteria for eligibility which include income earned and the amount of money you have paid into Social Security over your working life. The income you have pocketed in the past and more recently and the number of your dependents may affect your SSDI calculations. Your present home and one vehicle aren’t assessed as assets for SSDI benefits.
You May Need to Hire a Disability Lawyer to Help You with You Scleroderma Claim
Because scleroderma is listed in the Blue Book qualifying for SSDI benefits is quite easy. However, all the paperwork has to be right including evidence from your physician. One slip up could result in your SSDI benefit claim being designed. A successful claim is more likely to be achieved by an experienced disability lawyer.