There are two types of disability benefits those with Lupus can qualify for. The first is private disability insurance benefits, which are based on policies offered by an employer as a group plan or an individually purchased policy and which can be either short term or long term. The other is Social Security Disability Benefits, which includes Disability Insurance Benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income.
The Disability Process for Those Diagnosed with Lupus
For private disability policies, you must file a claim with your human resources department. You may be forced into doing this when your doctor feels you are unable to work due to a health problem. If denied, you must usually appeal within a designated time frame. For Social Security benefits, the application process is often long and uncertain. The Social Security Administration will issue an initial decision within 2-6 months, but most people must appeal this decision multiple times before they get approved. The problem: you cannot work full-time during the application process, and even working part-time can make it much more difficult to get approved.
Lupus and Disability
Lupus is a complicated medical condition that even physicians struggle to understand completely. For example, they know it’s associated with an overactive immune system. But they do not know why it happens. It has a complicated diagnosis process.
No two cases of Lupus are alike. The condition can affect different body systems. It can be very severe in some people and mild for other people. Some of those with mild, chronic symptoms can also have severe flares, or periods when symptoms worsen.
The most common chronic symptoms associated with Lupus are hard to document with objective medical evidence. There are no tests that can prove you are having joint pain or fatigue. Your doctors know this. Social Security Judges do not.
Lupus is one medical condition that causes flares or temporary periods of worsening symptoms or where you feel sick. Social Security does not deal with these kind of conditions very well.
A Social Security Attorney Can Help Make Sure Your Lupus Is Recognized as the Disability It Is
Perhaps more than the average person, it is important for those with Lupus to have private disability insurance benefits through an employer plan or individually purchased policy.
Always talk to your rheumatologist. Be thorough about your symptoms and how frequent you are having flares. As a general rule, if your treating rheumatologist is supportive of disability you will have a higher likelihood of being approved, but it is no guarantee it will happen quickly.