Scleroderma Foot and Hand Injuries May Qualify You for Social Security Disability

The day has finally arrived when you have to leave your job at the Union Pacific Center. As a clerk, your work wasn’t physically demanding, but those cuts on your fingers have gotten so bad that you can’t type—and you have a hard time walking due to the numbness in your feet and toes. Could these circulation problems qualify you for Social Security disability payments?

Social Security Offers Disability for Raynaud's Phenomenon and Other Complications

As many patients who suffer from scleroderma know, there’s no limit to the ways that your condition can manifest itself. The problems in your fingers and toes may not be life threatening, but they pose a huge hindrance in your ability to do your work—especially if you suffer from a lack of blood flow to your toes and fingertips.

Scleroderma patients who have circulation complications are likely to be approved for disability payments if they suffer from:

  • Raynaud's phenomenon. This condition causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the extremities, such as the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. Reactions are brought on by exposure to heat or cold, and the extremities often become numb or painful as the patient’s skin tries to adjust to the change in temperature.
  • Raynaud's spasms. An attack of Raynaud's phenomenon often causes the hands, feet, and ears to change color. The extremities first become pale because blood cannot reach into the ends of the body. As blood flow is cut off, the extremities turn blue. When the patient finally adjusts to the temperature, blood rushes into the extremities, turning them bright red. These episodes can happen several times a day, and with each attack comes increased risk of worsened circulation and tissue damage.
  • Infections. Any disease that causes circulation problems or numbness increases the likelihood of serious infection. If a scleroderma patient develops a skin ulcer that becomes infected, he is open to potential gangrene or even amputation.

Your work environment can play a large role in determining what work you are able to perform with scleroderma. Raynaud's spasms can be caused by temperature changes, but also by stress—so a fast-paced job in a cold office building may be seen as an aggravating environment for your illness.

Are you struggling with your Social Security disability application? Reach out to us today using the live chat feature on our website or call us at (402) 933-5405 to find out how we can help.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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