What Skin Disorders Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with, or develop, severe skin disorders that inflict tremendous discomfort, embarrassment, anxiety, and other harms. When a skin condition is extremely severe, it can debilitate an individual making them unable to actually engage in various aspects of daily life, including hold down a permanent job.
Skin Disorders and Disability Benefits
There are certain skin disorders that, if deemed severe enough by the Social Security Administration, can cause a person to be deemed totally disabled and eligible for certain financial benefits. This is due to the fact that the SSA has a section in its “Blue Book” that describes the types of skin disorders eligible for disability benefits, specifically Listing 8.00.
Types of Skin Disorders That May Qualify for Disability Benefits
There are an array of skin disorders that could potentially serve as the basis for pursuing Social Security disability benefits. Nevertheless, some of the most common types of skin disorders cited among disability benefit applicants include:
- Bullous disease
- Chronic infections of the skin
- Hidradenitis suppurativa
- Mucous membrane infections
- Photosensitivity disorders
Disability Benefits for a Skin Infection
When someone is diagnosed with cellulitis, diabetic blisters, recurrent fungal infections, or recurrent bacterial or staph infections, they may qualify for disability benefits. This is due to the fact that the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book contains a specific section detailing the eligibility of someone who is suffering from a persistent skin infection. The specific listing is 8.04 of the Blue Book.
In order to qualify for benefits with a chronic skin disorder, you must be able to present medical evidence showing a chronic infection of your skin or mucous membrane, along with “extensive fungating or extensive ulcerating skin lesions.” In addition, these infected lesions need to have lasted at least three months, in spite of medical treatment. According to the Blue Book, an “extensive” lesion is considered to be one that appears on multiple body sites or critical body areas and significantly limits the individual’s ability to engage in daily activities such as walking, standing, holding objects, typing on a computer, etc.
In contrast, a “fungating” lesion is considered to be one that breaks on the skin and leads to necrosis (i.e. dead tissue). The Blue Book describes an “ulcerating” lesion as one that breaks on the skin with a loss of surface tissue and discharges pus.
Dermatitis and Disability Benefits
If you are struggling with a skin disorder such as eczema, you may be able to obtain disability benefits. Your eligibility will likely be based on meeting the standards set forth in “Dermatitis” section of the SSA’s Blue Book.
According to the SSA’s Blue Book, dermatitis is considered to be an inflammatory skin condition. This is why eczema falls within this category of the Blue Book. To qualify for disability benefits based on eczema or another type of dermatitis, you need to present evidence showing a diagnosis of a type of eczema that caused “extensive skin lesions” and those lesions must have lasted for at least three months. In addition, those lesions must still persist, even after undergoing medical treatment.
Multiple Skin Disorders
If you are struggling with multiple skin disorders or conditions, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits, even if none of them individually satisfies all of the requirements of a particular portion of Listing 8.00 of the SSA’s Blue Book. In these instances, the SSA will assess whether your combined disorders equal the severity of a specifically listed impairment.
Medical Evidence Required to Substantiate Your Disability Claim
A central component for any disability benefits application is providing a sufficient amount of medical evidence that substantiates your claim and details the severity of your disorder. In addition, your medical evidence needs to be based on clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing. It is important to highlight the fact that you, the applicant, carry the burden of compiling and providing sufficient medical evidence to the SSA.
In most instances, the medical evidence you provide from your treating doctor, or doctors, will receive the most analytical weight from a claims adjuster with the SSA. Why? Because your treating doctor is most likely in the best position to provide a detailed longitudinal (long-term) assessment and history of your skin disorder or condition. This is why it is strongly encouraged for you to obtain regular treatment from a respected and reputable medical provider.
What To Do If Your Skin Disorder Does Not Meet the Requirements in the Blue Book
If your skin disorder does not meet each of the specific requirements detailed in the SSA’s Blue Book, do not fret. You could still qualify for disability benefits if your medical evidence reflects a severe impairment that has directly impacted your ability to work. In this situation, the SSA will likely request that you undergo a medical-vocational allowance to determine if you have sufficient evidence to show that your skin disorder has left you unable to engage in any full-time work.
To show the seriousness of your disability, you need to provide the SSA with specific test results, such as biopsy results, that substantiate the severity of your skin disorder. You should also provide medical evidence regarding the onset of your skin disorder and the amount of time you have been inflicted with the disorder. In addition, your records should highlight the intensity and seriousness of your disorder. For example, if you are suffering from skin lesions, you should submit documentation detailing the specific location, number, and size of each lesion.
In addition to sufficient medical evidence, you will also need to present records showing how your skin disorder has impacted you on a daily basis. This is where you will likely need to ask your doctor to complete an RFC questionnaire, which is a document outlining your disorder and the impact it has had on your ability to function.
Learn More About Your Eligibility for Disability Benefits
If you are struggling with a chronic skin disorder that has impacted your ability to work, you need to take action and determine whether you qualify for disability benefits. A good way to learn more about your options is to complete the free evaluation form on this site.