Can You Obtain Disability Benefits for Lupus? (What You Need to Know)

Is Lupus a disability? Discover what Lupus disability benefits you can claim, how to apply, and tips to get the support you need.

doctor talking to patient about lupus

Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a complex autoimmune disease that can affect various organs and systems in the body, potentially hindering your ability to maintain and work a regular job. In this case, you may be wondering whether you can qualify for disability benefits due to the symptoms of lupus. Read on to find out more about lupus and disability benefits.

Is Lupus Considered a Disability?

Lupus, being a chronic autoimmune disease, can be a disabling condition for some individuals. However, the impact of lupus can vary widely from person to person, and not everyone with lupus experiences the same level of disability. Lupus can affect various organs and systems in the body, resulting in a range of symptoms, including joint pain, fatigue, skin rashes, and organ inflammation.

Does Lupus Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Whether lupus qualifies as a disability depends on the severity of the symptoms, their impact on a person’s ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) and the specific criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits. The SSA offers two main programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), intended for individuals who have worked and paid Social Security taxes, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a needs-based program for individuals with limited income and resources, which does not require a specific work history for eligibility.

Note: there are 5 disability programs in total: SSI, SSDI (or Disability Insurance Benefits), Disabled Widows Benefits, Adult Child Benefits and Child’s SSI benefits.

Also Read: What Conditions Qualify for Disability? (And How to Apply)

What Benefits Can I Claim for Having Lupus?

Depending on your work history and income level, you can apply for either SSDI or SSI. The SSA evaluates the severity of your medical condition and determines whether it meets their definition of disability, which involves the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to a severe impairment expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

Lupus Diagnosis Criteria for SSDI

The SSA has a medical guide known as the “Blue Book,” (Also known as the SSA Listings) outlining various medical conditions and the criteria for establishing disability based on those conditions. Lupus is included in the Blue Book under Section 14.02 – Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

To meet the criteria, an individual must demonstrate involvement of at least two body systems or organs, with at least one of the following:

  • Joint involvement.
  • Kidney involvement.
  • Inflammation of the serous membranes (e.g., pleuritis or pericarditis).
  • Skin involvement.

The individual must also show at least two of the following:

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

How to Apply for Lupus Disability Benefits

When applying for disability benefits due to lupus, it’s essential to provide comprehensive medical documentation, including information about symptoms, treatments, and the functional limitations imposed by the condition. The SSA will assess the medical evidence to determine eligibility for benefits. Evans Disability can help you apply for Social Security disability benefits. Please feel free to reach out to see if we can help with a complimentary consultation.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Lupus Disability

To enhance your chances of obtaining lupus disability benefits, consider the following steps:

  • Gather Medical Records and Accurate Documentation.
  • Provide Evidence of Functional Limitations.
  • Include a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Form.
  • Obtain a Medical Statement from Your Physician.
  • Work with an Experienced Disability Attorney.

Also ReadHow Can I Increase My Chances of Getting Disability? (9 Ways)

How Long Does It Take To Get Disability for Lupus?

The timeline for getting approved for disability benefits for lupus can vary widely and is influenced by several factors. The initial application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can take several months to process. After the initial application is submitted, the SSA reviews the case and makes an initial decision, which can take anywhere from a few months to over a year. If the initial application is denied, the next step is to request a reconsideration, which also takes time and can vary in duration. If the reconsideration is denied, the applicant can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and waiting times for a hearing can vary by region, sometimes being substantial. The SSA’s workload and backlog of disability cases can significantly impact processing times, exacerbated by high caseloads and staffing shortages. We would encourage you to watch our podcast on the 4-Steps of a Disability claim.

What if I’m Denied Disability for Lupus?

It’s worth noting that the process of applying for disability benefits can be complex, and many initial applications are denied. Seeking assistance from a disability attorney or advocate with experience in lupus cases can be beneficial. These professionals can help guide individuals through the application process, gather necessary medical documentation, and advocate on their behalf during any appeals if needed.

Secure Your Lupus Disability Benefits With Evans Disability

The attorneys at Evans Disability have over 100 years of combined experience to help you apply for disability benefits for lupus. They can assist you throughout the entire disability application process. Call or contact them today for a free consultation at 1-855-503-0101.

Lupus Disability FAQs

What Is Lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Lupus can affect various organs and systems in the body, leading to a range of symptoms, including joint pain, fatigue, skin rashes, and organ inflammation.

What Are the 4 Types of Lupus?

Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a complex autoimmune disease that can affect various organs and systems in the body. There are several types of lupus; the most common form is systemic lupus erythematosus. The four main types of lupus include:

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (CLE)
Drug-Induced Lupus Erythematosus (DILE)
Neonatal Lupus

What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?

Common symptoms of lupus can include fatigue, joint pain and swelling, skin rash, photosensitivity, fever, kidney issues, chest pain, and hair loss.

Can You Continue to Work With Lupus?

The ability to continue working with lupus depends on the severity of symptoms, the impact of the disease on an individual’s daily functioning, and the nature of the work. Many people with lupus are able to continue working, either in their current jobs or in modified roles. However, others may find it challenging due to the unpredictable nature of lupus symptoms.

Is There a Lupus Disability Tax Credit?

In the United States, there is no specific “Lupus Disability Tax Credit.” However, individuals with lupus or other disabilities may be eligible for certain tax credits or deductions, depending on their circumstances, including medical and work-related expenses. However, we are not tax experts and would advise you to seek tax advice from your tax advisor.