Dermatomyositis and Social Security Disability

Dermatomyositis is a painful and oftentimes frustrating condition to live with. In many cases, the symptoms that are produced by the condition can interfere with an individual's ability to perform normal, everyday activities. It is understandable that these individuals are definitely unable to work due to the limitations that the disease places on them. If you have been suffering from dermatomyositis and have been unable to maintain employment due to the effects of the condition, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help offset some of the financial stress that the disease has created. The following information will help you understand how dermatomyositis qualifies for SSD benefits and how you can increase your chances of receiving a hassle-free approval of your Social Security Disability claim.

Dermatomyositis Condition and Symptoms

Dermatomyositis is a condition that affects the muscles of the body and is usually accompanied by inflammation and a rash on the skin. The disease is a type of inflammatory myopathy, although the exact cause of this myopathy is unknown. Some experts believe that the condition may be the result of a viral infection within the muscles or with a malfunction of the body's immune system. In some instances, the disease is associated with a tumor within the body. Dermatomyositis is very similar to polymyositis, but with polymyositis there is no skin rash.

While dermatomyositis can occur at any age, it usually develops between the ages of 5 and 15 or between the ages of 40 and 60, with females being more prone to development than males. The symptoms of the condition will vary depending on the severity of the disease. Common symptoms of dermatomyositis include weakness of the muscles, muscle stiffness and soreness, a purple-red rash on the skin, a purple color of the upper eyelids and shortness of breath. In severe cases of dermatomyositis, the muscle weakness can be significant, resulting in the inability to perform the simplest of tasks, such as getting up from a chair or out of bed.

Unfortunately there is no cure for dermatomyositis. Instead, doctors will focus on treating the symptoms of the condition. Common treatments include corticosteroid drugs and physical therapy. If the dermatomyositis is related to a tumor, which in some cases it is, the condition may improve once the tumor has been removed from the body.

While some of the people who suffer from dermatomyositis are able to live normal lives with proper treatment, others will not respond well to treatment and will face significant disability. These individuals should apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Dermatomyositis

Those who suffer from severe dermatomyositis are often relieved to discover that the condition is included in the Social Security Administration's Blue Book of Medical Listings under Section 14.05. According to this listing, an individual who suffers from dermatomyositis may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they have had a documented diagnosis using muscle biopsy or electromyography. The individual must also suffer from muscle weakness in the pelvic area or shoulders, resulting in an inability to move effectively or to perform movements as defined in Section 14.00C6 and 14.00C7 of the Blue Book.

An individual can also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with a case of dermatomyositis if they are suffering from impaired swallowing with aspiration due to the muscle weakness involved with the condition's symptoms, which include impaired breathing, diaphragmatic muscle weakness, diffused calcinosis with limitation to joint mobility and intestinal motility.

The SSA's Medical Listing 14.05 goes on to say that an individual may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if their specific case of dermatomyositis results in repeated manifestations of the condition that display at least two of the symptoms or signs of the condition in a severe nature, such as: fatigue, malaise, involuntary weight loss, fever and at least one of the following:

  • Limitation of activities of daily living.
  • Limitation in maintaining social functioning.
  • Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

If you are disabled and unable to work due to the above symptoms, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you have sufficient medical evidence to prove that your case of dermatomyositis meets the above-mentioned criteria.

Dermatomyositis and Your Social Security Disability Case

Because dermatomyositis is listed in the SSA's Blue Book of Medical Listings, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process as long as you meet the specific criteria that have been set forth by the Social Security Administration. However, if you are lacking the medical evidence to prove that your case of dermatomyositis meets the conditions of Medical Listing 14.05 or if there is any question as to whether or not you are able to perform any type of work in the national economy, your initial claim is likely to be denied and you will need to file a Social Security Disability appeal.

When appealing the SSA's decision to deny your Social Security Disability benefits, it is crucial to your case that you consult with a Social Security Disability advocate or attorney. A qualified advocate or attorney will be able to advise you as to why your initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits was denied and how you can strengthen your case to prove your disability at your hearing before an administrative law judge. Statistics show that applicants who pursue the appeal process with the help of a disability advocate or attorney are more likely to be awarded benefits than those who do not.

To learn more about filing for disability benefits with dermatomyositis or to learn more about working with a Social Security Disability lawyer, simply fill out the form for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.