Each and every year, millions of people apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Unfortunately, nearly 70 percent of these claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) during the initial stage of the application process. When an individual is suffering from a severe condition, such as Wilson's Disease, and they are unable to work due to their disability, they may wonder how their condition qualifies them for disability benefits. If you are wondering how the SSA reviews claims based on a diagnosis of Wilson's Disease, the following information will help you understand the Social Security Disability claim process and how your disability may affect your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.
Wilson's Disease Condition and Symptoms
Wilson's Disease, also known as hepatolenticular degeneration, is a disorder that results in an accumulation of copper in the tissue of the body. This accumulation of copper results in neurological and psychiatric symptoms as well as liver disease. Wilson's Disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive genetic pattern. While the disease is usually treated with medication that can reduce the amount of copper that the body absorbs, in some cases the effects of the disease are severe and require more drastic measures, such as a liver transplant.
Wilson's Disease is linked to mutations of the ATP7B gene. When a single abnormal copy of this gene is present in an individual's DNA, symptoms will not develop. However, when a child inherits a copy of the mutated gene from both parents, they have a significant chance of developing the disorder. If an individual does inherit two copies of the mutated gene, the symptoms of the disorder will normally appear between the ages of 6 and 20 years.
The symptoms of Wilson's Disease will vary depending on the severity of the condition, how early the condition was caught and what treatments are being provided. Common symptoms of Wilson's Disease include clumsiness, depression, speech difficulties, difficulty swallowing, drooling, easy bruising, fatigue, involuntary shaking, joint pain, appetite loss, nausea, skin rash, arm and leg swelling and jaundice.
When an individual is diagnosed with Wilson's Disease, treatment will be focused on reducing the amount of copper in the tissue of the body. Exercise and physical therapy may also be used to address the symptoms of the disease. In some cases, when treatment is not effective and organs have been damaged, surgery such as organ transplant may be necessary.
It is understandable that many of the individuals who suffer from Wilson's Disease will be unable to perform substantial gainful activity due to the symptoms and effects of their condition. In these cases, an application for Social Security Disability benefits may help offset some of the financial stress caused by the condition.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Wilson's Disease
The SSA does recognize Wilson's Disease under Section 5.0 of the SSA's disability guidelines. However, being diagnosed with Wilson's Disease is not enough in and of itself to qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits. You will need to prove to the SSA that your condition completely prevents you from performing any type of work activity. In order to do this, you will need to provide sufficient medical evidence with your application for benefits.
When submitting your Social Security Disability claim, you will need to include complete copies of your medical records and be sure to complete the residual functional capacity forms with complete and detailed answers so that the adjudicator who reviews your file will understand how your condition affects your quality of life.
Because not all cases of Wilson's Disease are the same, the SSA reviews claims based on the condition on a case-by-case basis. This means that you will have to prove, beyond a doubt, that your condition makes it impossible for you to work if you hope to be awarded benefits during the initial stage of the application process.
Wilson's Disease and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you have enough medical evidence to prove that your illness completely prevents you from performing any type of work activity, you may be awarded benefits during the initial stage of the application process. If, however, there is any question as to whether or not your condition meet's the SSA's guidelines or that you are unable to work, you will likely have to pursue the disability appeal process.
When filing a disability, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. The services of a quality advocate or attorney can significantly increase your chances of being awarded the benefits you need. Statistics show that individuals who obtain proper representation during all stages of the disability application process are more likely to be awarded benefits than those who choose to represent themselves.