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EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME & DISABILITY BENEFITS

WHAT IS EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME (EDS)?

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of more than one genetic disorder. These disorders affect the connective tissues in your body. Because there are different forms of the syndrome, symptoms differ for each person. If you need disability benefits due to your EDS, contact Cannon Disability Law today.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is not an autoimmune disorder, like Lupus. Read more about Lupus here. Instead, because EDS genetically impairs your collagen, it affects your skin, blood vessel walls, and joints. It can make your joints hyper-mobile. That means that your joints are overly flexible. For example, your wrists, shoulders or elbows may pop out of joint or become dislocated. It also means your joints move beyond their normal range of motion.

Another problem caused by Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is early degenerative arthritis. EDS can cause joint arthritis and pain. Additionally, it causes stretchy, fragile skin and it can also cause scoliosis or curvature of the spine.

Patients are born with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. However, it may not become a disability until later in life. Sometimes, a diagnosis isn’t made until adulthood. EDS occurs in approximately 1 in 5,000 individuals worldwide.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome term on white background with stethoscope

TESTING FOR HYPERMOBILITY OF THE JOINTS

There is a test that doctors use to determine if you have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The test is the Beighton score. It aids doctors when they are trying to diagnose the hypermobility from Ehlers-Danlos. It is a set of simple tests for joint hypermobility that includes:

  • Passive dorsiflexion and hyperextension of the fifth MCP joint (little finger) beyond 90 degrees;
  • Passive apposition of the thumb (when bent backward) to the flexor aspect of the forearm;
  • Passive hyperextension of the elbow that bends backwards beyond 10 degrees;
  • Passive hyperextension of the knee beyond 10 degrees;
  • Forward flexion of the trunk with the knees fully extende with the palm of the hands resting flat on the floor.

If your joints can move in this abnormal fashion, then you have hypermobility of the joints. This may be a sign of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. In order to determine if you have the condition, you must obtain a physician’s diagnosis. Ask you doctor to perform the Beighton score test. Additionally, in order to be eligible for disability benefits, you must have other severe EDS symptoms. Those symptoms must prevent you from working.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN  VASCULAR EHLERS-DANLOS AND EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME?

Vascular Ehlers-Danlos is another form of EDS, which fortunately is relatively rare. In the case of vascular EDS, there is an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern, resulting from mutations in the COL3A1 gene. The vascular type of EDS  shortens your life-span. Most people with this form of the disease live to be 48 years old. Death typically occurs from rupture of blood vessels, the intestines, or the uterus.

Vascular EDS has different symptoms than other types of EDS. People with vascular EDS have distinct facial features. For example, they usually have thin upper lips, a thin nose and small earlobes. They can also have prominent eyes. Additionally, they have fragile skin. Blood vessels are noticeable through the skin of those who suffer from vascular EDS. Vascular EDS weakness the body’s arteries and the aorta.  The aorta is the largest artery in your heart. Additionally, the blood vessels in your organs, such as your intestine or heart are weakened by the disease.

Vascular EDS symptoms become worse over time.Some of the possible complications from the condition include rupturing of  the aorta or rupturing of other organs, such as the arteries of the uterus. This kind of rupture can cause you to die from blood loss.

EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME & WINNING SSD AND SSI BENEFITS

To receive disability benefits, a person must meet SSA’S definition of disability. You are only eligible for Social Security disability benefits, if your Ehlers-Danlos syndrome results in a severe medical condition that will last one year. Likewise, you also are disabled if your condition will result in death. Additionally, after you apply for benefits you may also be eligible for back due or past due disability benefits.

Because the SSA’s definition of disability is so strict, those who receive benefits are severely disabled. In fact, those receiving disability benefits are more than three times as likely to die in a given year as other people the same age.

At 55, if you start receiving disability benefits, then your chances of dying within five years from the onset of your disability is high. Depending on your gender, 1 in 6 men die after receiving disability benefits. Similarly, 1-in-8 women die within five years of the onset of their disabilities.

The truth is that 1-in-4 people in the United States becomes disabled before reaching retirement age. If this happens, then you are entitled to Social Security Disability benefit and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

In 2022, the average Social Security Disability monthly is $1,358. However, most recipients receive less money than that per month. Many law firms advertise that you can win more than $3000 a month in benefits. This is not correct.

Only 10% of SSD recipients receive more than $2,000 per month in benefits. If you have a family, you receive additional SSD benefits. For example, in 2022 the average monthly benefit for an SSD benefit recipient who has a spouse and children is $2,383 per month.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME

To receive disability benefits, a person must meet SSA’s definition of disability. You are only eligible for Social Security disability benefits, if your EDS results in a severe medical condition that will last one year. Likewise, you also are disabled if your condition will result in death. Additionally, after you apply for benefits you may also be eligible for back due or past due disability benefits.

Because the SSA’s definition of disability is so strict, those who receive benefits are among the most severely impaired in the country. In fact, those receiving disability benefits are more than three times as likely to die in a given year as other people of the same age.

The truth is that 1-in-4 people in the United States becomes disabled before reaching retirement age. If this happens, then you are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits if you have paid your taxes. Your SSD benefit is based upon your own earnings. Therefore, every person’s monthly SSD benefit is different.

In 2022, the average Social Security Disability monthly is $1,358. However, most recipients receive less money than that per month. Many law firms advertise that you can win more than $3000 a month in benefits. This is not correct.

Only 10% of SSD recipients receive more than $2,000 per month in benefits. If you have a family, you receive additional SSD benefits. For example, in 2022 the average monthly benefit for an SSD benefit recipient who has a spouse and children is $2,383 per month.

SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME BENEFITS FOR EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME

Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits are different than Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. SSI benefits are a “supplement” to SSD benefits. They are paid to you if your monthly SSD benefit is a low amount of money. This means below the monthly SSI amount in your state.

It is also a benefit you can receive if you have never had a job or even if you have only worked for a short period of time. In order to be eligible for SSI you must meet the disability requirements. SSI benefits also come with Medicaid. Also, find out more about garnishment of SSI benefits here.

However, you must also qualify financially by not having significant assets (a cabin, snowmobiles, a boat) or money (more than $2000 saved in the bank). The financial asset rules that govern SSI are complex. Therefore, you may need the legal help of an SSI benefits attorney to navigate your eligibility. Our office is in Salt Lake City, but our attorneys can help you wherever you live.

Many parents wish to qualify for SSI benefits simply to obtain Medicaid. This makes sense considering that medical bills can be so overwhelming. Unfortunately, in order to qualify for Medicaid you usually must also qualify for SSI.

This is not necessarily true in all circumstances, so make sure that you check with Medicaid. However, if you qualify for even one dollar of SSI benefits, you typically qualify for Medicaid benefits as well. Get more information about Medicaid benefits here.

YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR BOTH SSI AND SSD PAYMENTS FOR YOU EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME

It is possible to receive both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplement Security Income (SSI) benefits. This is known as receiving concurrent benefits.

If your SSD benefits are less than the SSI benefit amount, then you might also receive SSI benefits. Let’s look at an example. Assume you qualify for disability benefits due to your medical condition. If your SSD benefits are $300 a month (a relatively low amount), then SSI kicks in to bring you to your state SSI level.

In Utah, the 2022 SSI amount is $841 per month for an individual. Therefore, using our example, if you receive $300 in SSD, you could also receive $501 in SSI benefits. However, to be eligible for SSI benefits, you must still meet your states income and asset requirements.

Together, the two benefits, can bring you to a higher monthly benefit amount than one benefit alone. However, in order to win SSI, you must have a severe disability and be unable to work for 12 months or longer. Additionally, you must meet SSA’s income and asset requirements.

You may also qualify for SSI if you have worked, but have earned a low income. For example, perhaps you work at a job with low wages and you rely on tips. Likewise, maybe you are a waitress or an airport baggage handler. These jobs may have a low wage, but because you pay taxes you still qualify for disability benefits.

DOES EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME MEET AN SSA LISTING?

To meet a listing, you must show that you have an impairment under SSA’s listings. To “meet” a listing, your condition must have all of the requirements under the listing.

Unfortunately, there is not a specific listing for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Rather, you can meet a listing for an impairment you have due to the syndrome. Below are some of the possible listings that may be meet by those with EDS.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome does not have its own listing. Therefore, the SSA requires evaluation under the closest analogous listing. Listings such as those for Lupus, Arthritis, Systemic Vasculitis, or Connective Tissue Disease are found under SSA listing 14.00. The SSA states that these particular listings do not apply to EDS, because, EDS is a genetic disorder and the others are immune disorders.

Hallex II-4-1-4 explains, “Although Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan’s syndrome are connective tissue disorders, they are not immune disorders, but genetic disorders.” Therefore, EDS should not be included in the immune system listings. Instead, EDS is evaluated under the listings for the affected body system, (e.g., cardiovascular, visual, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal).

WHAT DOES CANNON DISABILITY TO FOR YOUR EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME CASE?

You do not have to obtain disability benefits for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome on your own. Cannon Disability Law can help file your disability application. Also, we can help you navigate the stages of appeal during the disability process. That way, you can focus on your health and the changes EDS is causing in your life. Our attorneys and specialists can:

  • Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
  • Request reconsideration if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
  • Help you confirm your attendance at a Consultative Examination
  • Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
  • Prepare you to be a good witness at your disability hearing
  • Represent you at your hearing and cross-examine vocational and medical witnesses. Read more about vocational experts here. Learn more about medical expert testimony here.
  • Request review of an unfavorable decision with the Appeals Council
  • Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court

If you file your application for disability benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you only have 6 months to complete the application. Additionally, once you receive a denial from the SSA, you only have 60 days to file an appeal of whatever unfavorable decision made by the SSA. You must not fail to meet the deadlines set by the SSA.

EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME & RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY

Even if you do not meet SSA’s listing, you can still be found eligible for disability benefits. However, you must not be able to work due to your severe EDS symptoms. The SSA looks to your severe symptoms and determines your residual functional capacity (RFC). If you RFC is limited, then your RFC can prevent you from working.

The SSA determines your RFC by reading your medical records and asking you questions. For example, the SSA will look at how your symptoms are impacting your ability to do everyday tasks, such as sit, stand, and walk. They will also look at your fatigue and determine if you need to lay down during the workday.

Additionally, the SSA will decide whether or not your Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is impacting your mental abilities. For example, does your pain impair your ability to concentrate. Or, if you have had a stroke, are you struggling to communicate? The SSA develops a RFC assessment to determine if you can work. Find out more about the Residual Functional Capacity assessment here.

CANNON DISABILITY LAW WORKS ON A CONTINGENCY FEE BASIS

If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, then you should hire an attorney. An attorney can help you apply for disability benefits.

Studies show that you are three times more likely to win benefits if you hire an attorney. Additionally, an attorney will know the medical symptoms to prove your disability EDS.

In order to hire Cannon Disability, all you need to do is call us or contact us. We offer a free consultation over the phone. And, it doesn’t cost anything to call us.

Better yet, it also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win your SSD case, you pay the attorney fee out of your back benefits. If you do not win, there is no attorney fee to pay.

The attorney fee has a cap or a limit. The SSA sets the limit of the attorney fee at 25% of the back benefit or the maximum attorney fee cap, whatever is less.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF YOUR DISABILITY CLAIM?

The costs of a disability claim for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is the same for any other disabling condition. If there are costs in your case, then you pay those. But typically those costs are less than $100. Costs are typically obtaining medical records. We try to keep your costs to a minimum.

Once we win your case, the payment of your attorney fee comes from your back benefit. This is unusual, because to hire most lawyers, you have to pay the attorney fee upfront. We don’t work like that.

You don’t have a job. So, the only way to pay us, is for us to win your case. That is our goal. We will also try to win your past due disability benefits. Likewise, if you have a prior application to reopen, we will do that too. Call today. See what we can do for you.

Additionally, we represent clients in many states. For example, we have clients in Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. We also represent clients in Colorado and California. Find out more about Nevada disability benefits here.

Learn more about Utah disability benefits here. Additionally, we have information about California disability benefits here.

No matter where you live, we will answer your questions about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and your disability case. We want to be your disability legal team. If you have questions about benefits, then give us a call today.

CANNON DISABILITY’S REPRESENTATIVES

You are seeking an advocate to represent you in your Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome disability case. You need an advocate you can trust. If you want to learn more about the representatives at Cannon Disability Law, then read our About Us page. There you will find more information about our representatives. For example, Andria Summers can help you with your Medicare plan. Likewise, she has also won thousands of disability cases.

Dianna Cannon has many years of experience representing disability claimants. She has been an attorney for thirty years. Ms. Cannon also has licenses in a number of states. For example, she has a law license in California, Utah, Nevada, and Washington State.

Additionally, Brett Bunkall also has experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. He has won thousands of disability hearings. Mr. Bunkall is an expert. Similarly, all of our representatives are disability experts. You can trust us to help you receive disability benefits for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

WE CAN HELP YOU WIN BENEFITS FOR EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME

There are many important issues that play a role in whether you receive benefits for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. You need a lawyer who understands those issues. Also, you need an advocate who knows the law.

Cannon Disability wants to be your legal team. Hire us for our experience. Over the last 30 years, we have won over 20,000 disability claims. It isn’t an easy task to win. But, we have the tenacity for the job. We also have the experience to win your Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome case.

Another important factor to consider when hiring an attorney is what it costs. Cannon Disability is affordable. We work on a contingency fee basis only. That means you do not pay an attorney fee until we win your case. If we win, then the attorney fee comes out of your disability back benefit. If we do not win your case, then there is no attorney fee for you to pay.

Contact us today. Take advantage of our free consultation. If you call, then we can answer your questions. Remember, we are experts in SSI and SSD benefits. And, we will do our best to win your benefits. Call today.

When you call, be able to tell us what symptoms you are experiencing from your EDS. Also, be ready to tell us about your doctors. We also want to know if you are receiving treatment for mental conditions, like depression. Find out now if we can help you obtain disability benefits for your Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

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