Receiving the diagnosis that you have an autoimmune disease can be frightening but also feel like a relief. You have likely traveled from doctor to doctor while they worked to determine what was causing your symptoms and to rule out the most serious issues, like cancer. However, hearing that you have lupus means you may be facing radial changes in your lifestyle.
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is not often fatal, but it can be debilitating. This means you may reach a point when you are no longer able to perform your duties at work, which may introduce a new set of problems. Where will you get an income? How will you afford health insurance? Without these, how will you obtain the medical care you need? For many, the answer is disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.
Proving your case
If you have paid long enough into Social Security through automatic deductions from your paychecks, you may qualify for disability benefits with lupus. The SSA lists lupus under its qualifying immune system disorders, but you should prepare to provide ample evidence that your condition is disabling. This means your lupus prevents you from earning a living in any meaningful capacity. Not only are you unable to perform the duties of your current job, but you would not be able to hold any gainful employment due to your symptoms.
Providing the agency with detailed records of your diagnosis and treatments will be extremely helpful in proving your case. This should include a statement from your doctor regarding your functional limitations. For example, does your lupus make it difficult or impossible for you to stand? Are you too fatigued to make it through a workday? Would your medication interfere with your abilities on the job?
Resources on your side
Presenting the North Carolina examining agent of the SSA with as much detail as possible about your illness and how it affects your daily life is a critical part of the disability application process. A large percentage of denied applications simply do not include enough convincing documentation to qualify the applicants for benefits. Your application should clearly show that your condition will last longer than one year and that the symptoms you experience will not get better but certainly may get worse.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you through the application process and to advocate for you if the SSA denies your request for benefits. A skilled and compassionate attorney will provide you with information and assistance through every phase of the process.
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