The Social Security Administration defines a disability as being unable to do work that you did before, being unable to adjust to other work because of your medical condition, and having a condition that has lasted or will last at least one year, or result in death. After submitting your disability benefits application, the SSA uses standardized criteria of recognized impairments to determine whether you are totally disabled. This book is called Disability Evaluation Under Social Security. A part of this book, now no longer published because it is so long and is constantly being updated electronically, provides a list of hundreds of possible impairments that evaluators use to consider your case to determine the extent of your disability. While there are countless combinations of medical conditions that can render someone disabled, some of these are specifically listed as commonly severe enough to disable individuals.
Potentially Qualifying Skin Disorders
Skin disorders can result from hereditary, congenital, or pathological processes, but however they are acquired, they can be debilitating. The skin disorders listed in the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security include:
- Bullous Diseases
- Chronic infections of the skin or mucuous membranes
- Hidradenitis suppurativa
- Genetic photosensitivity disorders
Evaluating Your Condition
For most cases, in order to meet the requirement of a “skin disorder” before the SSA, you must be undergoing treatment for a certain condition for three consecutive months. Once your condition “qualifies,” the SSA wants to know answers to basic questions including the following:
- When did this condition develop?
- How often do you experience “flare-ups?”
- How painful are they?
- What is the prognosis of your skin disorder?
- What might have caused it and what exacerbates it? (your medical records answering this question might include a history of exposure to toxins, allergens, or other factors like stress, familial incidence, etc.)
The SSA will try to determine the severity of your skin disorder by further examining your symptoms, treatment, and how you respond to that treatment. They may examine whether your skin condition affects your range of motion, or limits any motor movements or whether you have flare-ups that cause lesions or debilitating pain. Most of these conditions not only affect your skin, but also impair other body systems. Tuberous sclerosis, for example, can effect the skin and the brain, causing seizures. Other examples of conditions that affect multiple body systems could include malignant tumors, autoimmune disorders, or disfigurement caused by skin lesions or burns.
What if my conditions do not meet all the criteria?
These listings and the above questions are only examples of what the SSA will consider to potentially qualify for SSDI. If you find that your condition does not meet every single criterium, don’t worry. There is still a chance that you may qualify. The most important thing to remember is how the SSA defines disability. In addition to that definition, as long as your condition has persisted in its severity through at least three months of ongoing treatment, you may still have a good chance.
As you can see, the SSA takes a very thorough and systematic approach to evaluating your medical condition. For this reason, it is important that you take the necessary steps when preparing your SSDI application. The right attorney can help you and can talk to your doctor or other healthcare providers to ensure that you are represented honestly and accurately to give you the best possible chance of receiving benefits.
For more specific information on how the SSA evaluates skin disorders, visit here.
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