Lupus can be a debilitating and even fatal disease. It can limit your ability to work and do things in general. It can even affect your relationships with others.
But can you get disability with lupus?
Yes, it’s possible to get disability benefits for lupus. In fact, the disease is included in the SSA’s impairment listing. This means that if you have lupus, you’ll be considered disabled regardless of your work or education history.
However, lupus symptoms can vary widely. No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. While some cases of lupus can be very disabling, others may only bring about very mild symptoms. Some people with lupus don’t even know they have it.
Because of this, getting disability benefits for lupus won’t be that easy. A diagnosis alone isn’t enough. You still need to prove to the SSA that your condition prevents you from making a living.
To help you gauge if you’ll qualify for disability, we’ve put together this quick guide.
When is Lupus a Disability?
According to the SSA, a medical condition, including lupus, can be considered a disability if:
- it prevents you from working or engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA)
- it prevents you from doing the work you previously did or adjusting to other types of work
- it has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year or result in death
The SSA’s bluebook also lists down disability criteria specifically for lupus. According to it, lupus can be considered a disability if:
A. it affects two or more organs/body systems with:
- at least a moderate level of severity for one of the organs/body systems involved
- at least two common symptoms or signs like fever, involuntary weight loss, severe fatigue, or malaise)
B. repeated manifestation of symptoms resulting to limitations in:
- daily living activities
- maintaining social relationships
- completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace
If your condition meets all of the above criteria, then you’ll most likely be approved for disability benefits.
The Problem With Getting Disability for Lupus
According to a survey by the Lupus Foundation of America, more than half of lupus patients have reported a total or partial loss of income due to the disease. Yet, only a quarter are receiving disability payments.
These numbers just prove what I told you earlier: getting disability for lupus isn’t easy. This difficulty can be attributed to different factors.
Aside from the widely varying symptoms, the disease affects different parts of the body. So each lupus patient will experience different symptoms despite having the same disease.
In addition, lupus symptoms can be very inconsistent. There are times that it worsens and then improves temporarily. Sometimes, it may even completely disappear, only to come back a few years later.
All these make it hard to prove that your symptoms are disabling enough to qualify for benefits.
What Benefits Can You Get with Lupus?
The SSA offers two types of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI is a disability benefit meant for people who have worked in jobs covered by social security. Aside from having a disabling condition, you also need to have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. And you only earn work credits when you’re paying social security taxes.
How many work credits you’ll need generally depends on your age at the start of your disability. In general, you’ll need 40 work credits. Half of which must be earned in the ten years prior to your disability. But if your disability started at a young age, you may also qualify even with fewer work credits.
The SSA uses a complicated formula to compute the SSDI benefit amount. But to give you an idea, the average SSDI payment for 2023 is $1,483 per month. Those who were earning high before they got disabled can receive up to $3,627.
If you don’t have enough work credits, you can still get disability benefits through SSI. This is a needs-based benefit, so your earnings must be below a certain income threshold to qualify.
In 2023, the maximum income to qualify for SSI is $914 for individuals and $1,371 for couples. If your covered earnings for a certain month exceeds this limit, the SSA will deduct the excess amount from your benefit payment.
If you’re suffering from lupus and planning to apply for disability benefits, we can help. Atty. Victor Malca has been helping disabled workers in Florida fight for their rights for almost 30 years. He can help you get the disability benefits you rightfully deserve too. Call us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.