Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is often referred to simply as lupus, is hard to prove because the signs and symptoms that interfere with your ability to work typically don't cause you to go to the doctor because they are chronic and not curable. Fatigue, inflammation and swollen joints often interfere with your ability to work.Social Security evaluates SLE or lupus under listing 14.02. When analyzing  lupus, the medical  evidence is initially evaluated to determine whether a claimant's medical condition satisfies the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology. Meeting a listing is not the only way to receive benefits and most applicants who are awarded beenfits don't meet a lisitng but rather are unable to perform their past work or any other work because of the work limitations that illness, in this case lupus, causes.

Listing 14.02 A requires involvement of two or more body organ systems, one of which has to be at a moderate degree of severity and at least two constitutional symptoms or signs. Or

Listing 14.02 B requires repeated manifestations of SLE , with at least two of the constitutional signs or symptoms and one of the following at a marked level.:activities of daily living, social functioning and completing tasks in a timely manner.

The body systems or organs that lupus effects include skin, respiratory, cardiac, hematologic, neurologic and mental.  The term repeated manifestation  means occurring on an average once every three months last two weeks or more. SSA also uses descriptions such as marked and moderate in this listing.  Marked means more than moderate but less than extreme. Moderate means more that slight but less than marked.  These definitions are vague and ambiguous.

SSA evaluates the consitutional symptoms such pain, severe fatigue and malaise to determine how they functionally limit your ability to work.It is important to keep your own records such as a diary, calendar or employment records to show how often your symptoms affect you.It is helpful to describe your symptoms to your doctor so that they can be documented in your medical records. Often times people with a chronic illness learn how to cope with chronic conditions by pushing through. It does not help your doctor to treat your illness or your disability claim if your answer to questions she asks is that you are fine. Be accurate and be complete when describing your symptoms to your doctor.

If you have questions about Systemic Lupus Erythematous and Social Security disability we are happy to anwer them. Contact us at (402) 933-5400 for an evaluation of your lupus claim or email us at [email protected].






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