Systemic Vasculitis and Social Security Disability

Systemic vasculitis can be a very frustrating illness to live with. Depending on the type of vasculitis that a patient is suffering from and the severity of that individual's symptoms, work activity may be absolutely imposable to maintain. Because of this, the people who suffer from systemic vasculitis are often faced with substantial financial burdens. In many cases, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with systemic vasculitis and you are wondering how the condition qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information will help you understand the disability claim process and how the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews disability claims that are based on this specific disabling condition.

Systemic Vasculitis - Condition and Symptoms

The term “vasculitis” is given to a group of rare diseases that are characterized by inflammation of the body's blood vessels. When the condition occurs on its own, it is referred to as primary vasculitis. When the symptoms of vasculitis occur due to another disease or illness, it is referred to as secondary vasculitis. When a case of primary vasculitis is so severe that it involves many of the body's different organs, it is referred to as systemic vasculitis. Systemic vasculitis is very severe in nature and can be life-threatening in many situations.

The symptoms of systemic vasculitis will vary depending on the severity of the condition and which organs of the body have been affected. Common symptoms of the disease include chronic fatigue, weakness, fever, abdominal pain, renal insufficiency, neurological dysfunction, hypertension, asymmetric polyneuropathy, palpable purpura and pulmonary-renal syndrome.

Currently there is no cure for systemic vasculitis, but there are treatments available to alleviate the symptoms of the condition and prolong a patient's life expectancy. The most common treatments for system vasculitis involves the use of steroid drugs and immunosuppressants.

It is easy to understand why many of the individuals who suffer from this disease are unable to maintain full-time employment. If your case of systemic vasculitis has prevented you from maintaining substantial gainful activity, you should consider an application for Social Security Disability benefits.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Systemic Vasculitis

The SSA's Blue Book of Medical Listings includes systemic vasculitis in Section 14.03 of the published guidelines. Under this section, an individual who is suffering from systemic vasculitis may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if he or she has documented medical evidence of the condition including angiography or tissue biopsy and the condition involves two or more organs of the body with at least one of the organs involved showing at least a moderate level of severity. At least two of the symptoms of the condition must also be present. A person may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if recurrent manifestations of the condition appear with at least two of the symptoms experienced resulting in a severe limitation of daily living activities, social functioning or the ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.

It is important to note that while you must be able to prove your case to the SSA through the results of an angiography or tissue biopsy, the SSA will not pay to have these tests performed. Because of this, you should have your doctor's lab results provided to the SSA so that they can see your diagnosis has been performed according to their guidelines. It is also important that you are very detailed in the answers that you provide on the Social Security Disability application forms, as these answers will provide the adjudicator who is reviewing your file with important information regarding how the condition impacts your ability to perform in day-to-day life.

Because systemic vasculitis is one of the conditions listed in the SSA's Medical Listings, you may very well qualify for benefits during the initial stage of the application process. If, however, your medical evidence is lacking or you do not meet the specific criteria that have been published by the SSA, you will likely need to file a disability appeal.

Systemic Vasculitis and Your Social Security Disability Case

When filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to note that only 30 percent of applicants are approved during the initial stage of the application process. The remaining 70 percent of applicants must file a disability appeal in order to obtain the benefits they are entitled to. If your condition and medical evidence proves that you meet the guidelines of Section 14.03 of the SSA's medical guidelines, your application may be one of the few that are approved during the initial application stage. If, however, there is any question as to whether or not you meet the SSA's disability criteria outlined under Section 14.03, you will likely need to pursue the disability appeal process. The disability appeal process can be complex and lengthy. Most appeals consist of two stages, including a Request for Reconsideration and a disability hearing.

If you do need to file a disability claim, it is in your best interests to do so with the services of a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer. These professionals can help you prepare your disability case and will be able to represent you properly at all stages of the disability application process. Statistics show that applicants who obtain legal representation are more likely to be awarded benefits than those who do not.