Lupus negatively impacts more than 1.5 million Americans, with many of the patients suffering from severe symptoms of the disease.
As an autoimmune disease, lupus can cause chronic fatigue, intense inflammation, and acute joint pain. Because of a compromised immune system, many Lupus patients develop infections as well.
Lupus impacts people differently. Some lupus patients can work while others cannot cope on the job because of the severity of their symptoms.
Lupus and SSA Grid Rules
The Social Security Administration (SSA) established grid rules to determine the likelihood that a lupus patient can return to work either in the same job or a different job. Grid rules address the timeless reality that when you reach 50 years of age, employers are less likely to hire you for an entry-level position.
Grid rules account for the following criteria:
- Your age
- Job skills
- Transferable job skills
- Amount of physical labor you can perform
Learn more about how applying at the age of 50 or older get you approved for Social Security disability benefits.
What Type of Work Can You Do with Lupus?
A lupus diagnosis does not mean you can never work again. In fact, many lupus patients return to work, although they might need accommodations to fulfill their job responsibilities. If you work at an office, you might need accommodations such as a chair that provides strong lumbar support. The key is to modify your workstation to alleviate potential stress factors on the body.
If you work in a physically demanding job, you might get assigned less physically demanding tasks. Outdoor physical labor might require you to take more breaks in the shade. You want to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
Lupus and the Blue Book
The SSA refers to a medical guide called the Blue Book to evaluate claims for Social Security disability benefits. Lupus lists in the Blue Book under section 14.00, which covers immune system disorders.
To meet the standards published in the Blue Book for lupus, you must experience symptoms that impact at least two of your organs or body systems. You also must demonstrate that you suffer from ongoing symptoms of the disease.
The ongoing symptoms must make it difficult for you to function in social settings, finish job tasks within a typical period, and participate in daily activities that include bathing and cooking.
You also need to submit medical evidence to support your claim. Reports from your physician that describe your treatments should span at least three months, but preferably more than 12 months.
Results of diagnostic tests and receipts for prescription drugs should accompany your disability claim as well. If you do not meet the Blue Book guidelines listed to qualify for disability benefits with lupus, the SSA might ask you to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.
Learn how to qualify for disability benefits with lupus.
Get Help with Your Claim
Although the chances of getting a Social Security disability claim approved when you reach 50 years old increase, the fact remains that the SSA denies a majority of claims.
By working with a Social Security attorney, you receive the legal support to gather and organize the medical evidence you need to qualify for financial assistance. Your lawyer ensures you file your claim before the deadline, as well as helps you with an appeal for reconsideration if the SSA denies your initial claim.