HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE & SSD BENEFITS
WHAT IS HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE?
THE SYMPTOMS OF HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE
Below you will find some common symptoms that occur when you have Hashimoto’s disease:
- Fatigue: Feeling tired, a lack of energy, and weak.
- Weight gain: Weight gain or trouble losing weight, even though you are eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
- Sensitivity to cold: Feeling cold in the hands and feet, even in warm environments.
- Dry skin and hair: Skin may become dry and rough. Your hair may become brittle, dry, and break.
- Constipation: Slowed digestion and bowel movements, with problems passing stool.
- Muscle and joint pain: Experiencing muscle aches and joint pain.
- Depression and mood swings: Feeling down and experiencing mood swings.
- Memory problems: Trouble with memory and your ability to concentrate.
- Menstrual changes: Changes in the menstrual cycle, such as heavy or irregular periods.
- Puffy face: Swelling, especially around the eyes and face.
Not everyone with Hashimoto’s disease will experience all of these symptoms. Additionally, how severe the symptoms are can vary from person to person. If you have the above symptoms, seek medical help.
TREATMENT FOR HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE
The treatment for Hashimoto’s disease aims to manage the symptoms and control thyroid hormone levels. Here are the main treatment options used for this condition:
- Thyroid hormone therapy: The primary treatment for Hashimoto’s disease is synthetic thyroid medication. This therapy should bring thyroid hormone levels back to a normal level.
- Blood tests: When you have Hashimoto’s disease, you need to undergo regular blood tests to assess thyroid hormone levels. If you thyroid level is off, then your doctor can adjust your medication. This ensures that the hormone therapy works.
- Habit changes: Changes in your habits can also help manage Hashimoto’s disease. These may include eating a healthy diet, doing regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.
- Diet: Some people with Hashimoto’s disease find that certain diet changes, such as eating less gluten, help their symptoms. However, the impact of diet changes varies among individuals. So, it is important to consult with a doctor before making any big diet changes.
- Symptom management: Specific symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease, such as fatigue, dry skin, and muscle aches, can be managed. This may involve changing your diet, using lotion for dry skin, and seeking pain management for muscle and joint pain.
MEDICAL CONDITIONS LINKED TO HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE
Even though SSD benefits are not normally paid for Hashimoto’s disease itself, they can be paid if the disease is causing other medical conditions. Here are some medical conditions and diseases that can be linked to Hashimoto’s disease:
- Hypothyroidism: Hashimoto’s disease is a common cause of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. It can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, and constipation.
- Goiter: In some cases, the damage to the thyroid gland caused by Hashimoto’s disease can lead to the enlargement of the thyroid gland, resulting in a goiter.
- Thyroid nodules: Hashimoto’s disease may increase the risk of thyroid nodules, which are growths or lumps in the thyroid gland. While most nodules are benign, some may require further treatment.
- Thyroid cancer: Although the risk is low, those with Hashimoto’s disease may have a slightly higher risk of getting thyroid cancer. Therefore, it is important to stay in regular contact with your doctor. That way, your doctor can detect any cancer.
- Autoimmune conditions: Having Hashimoto’s disease increases the risk of getting other autoimmune conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, and celiac disease.
- Infertility and issues while pregnant: Hashimoto’s disease, when not under control, may impact fertility and increase the risk of problems during pregnancy, such as miscarriage and preterm birth.
CAN YOU GET SSD BENEFITS FOR HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE?
The SSA does not consider Hashimoto’s disease itself to be medical condition that keeps you from working. However, the symptoms and problems that can occur with Hashimoto’s disease, particularly when they impact your daily activity level, may qualify your for SSD benefits.
Winning SSD benefits is based on the impact of your specific medical condition on your ability to work. If Hashimoto’s disease causes severe symptoms that impair your ability to perform any job, then you may win SSDI and SSI benefits.
To qualify for SSD benefits, you must provide medical evidence of your Hashimoto’s disease. Evidence should include medical records, lab test results, and a statement from your doctor about your ability to work a 40 hour work week.
YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY (RFC) & HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE
Even though there is no listing for Hashimoto’s disease, you can still win SSD benefits using the SSA’s rules. These rules takes the symptoms of your Hashimoto’s disease and other medical conditions, your age, work history, skills, and education into account.
When the SSA decides your residual functional capacity (RFC), they use your statements on the forms you fill out for them. For example, when you fill out forms about your past work, you state how much you had to lift on the job and how also tell them how much you stood or sat during a work day.
Your answers on these forms are often some of the most important statements you make. If you state on your Work History form that you lifted nothing on the job, then that is what the SSA assumes is correct. Frankly, there are no jobs where you lift “nothing.” But for some reason, many people write that down as an answer. Even desk jobs require some lifting. You might, for example, lift files, boxes of paper, books, or supplies. These can weigh up to 20 pounds.
Think about it. Failing to tell the SSA about the lifting you had to do at your past jobs, makes it easier for them to return you to your past jobs. In other words, you are making it easier for them to deny your case.
WHAT IS YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY?
The RFC determines your ability to work and perform all the activities of work at a particular level. The different types of work are sedentary, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy. Each level of work has specific physical demands. The physical demands of sedentary work are less than the demands of light work. Likewise, light work is easier to do than medium work.
The SSA will consider the combination of all of your medical conditions. It is important, when an ALJ determines RFC, for the judge to include your severe symptoms and even those that are not severe. Find out more about the ALJ options here.
The ALJ must discuss your ability to perform work in an ordinary work setting on a regular basis. For example, can you work 8 hours a day for 5 days a week? Working only 20 hours a week doesn’t count.
Also, the ALJ must describe the maximum amount of each work activity that you can perform based on the medical evidence. The ALJ must also explain how any conflicts in the medical records were resolved.
In all cases in which symptoms, such as pain, are alleged, the RFC must:
- Contain a complete discussion and analysis of the medical and other evidence, including complaints of pain and other symptoms;
- Resolve any problems with the evidence as a whole; and
- Set forth a logical explanation of the effects of the symptoms, including pain, on the ability to work.
For more information about how the SSA looks at your RFC, go to Social Security Ruling 96-8p.
APPLY FOR SSD BENEFITS FOR HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE
If you have Hashimoto’s disease, then there are two types of benefits you can file for under the Social Security program: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In order to receive benefits, you must first file an application. You can do this online at Social Security’s website. Below, please find an explanation as to each type of benefit you can apply for:
SSDI benefits are for those who have worked in the recent past and can no longer work at any job due to a medical condition. The amount of money you will receive from SSDI benefits every month is based on how much Social Security tax you have paid during your work history. To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned enough “work credits” to qualify. A work credit is an amount of taxable income. You can earn up to 4 work credits per year. The amount of work credits you will need will depend on how old you are when you apply. If you haven’t earned enough work credits for your age at the time you apply, you will only qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
SSI is a needs based benefit and it is for those people with little to no income, such as children and the elderly. Anyone who makes more than a certain amount of money per month cannot receive SSI benefits. The SSA counts the income of those in your house, not just your income. If you have a spouse who earns more than $4000 a month, for example, then that income will be the factor in whether you can receive SSI benefits. You cannot qualify for SSI benefits, no matter how severe Hashimoto’s disease, if you do not meet the income and asset rules for SSI.
HIRE US TO HELP YOU WIN SSDI & SSI BENEFITS
The symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease can be hard to prove. Therefore, many people who file Social Security applications for it are denied after they apply for benefits. In fact, only 30 percent of initial SSD applications are paid without the need for an appeal. The remaining 70 percent of people must go through the appeals process in order to win benefits.
The appeals process includes three steps. First, there is the initial application. If you lose there, you can request a new review. Finally, the third step is to request a hearing. Find out more about what happens at the hearing here.
You should not go to a hearing without an attorney. At the hearing, the judge is likely to call witnesses to testify. For example, the judge may call a vocational expert (VE) or a medical expert (ME). The ME is there to testify about your medical records. Likewise, the VE is at the hearing to testify about your past work. Also, the VE will testify about your ability to do other jobs in the national economy.
In order to win your case, you have to question these experts. This is a job for an attorney. One who has experience in Social Security Disability law. Don’t leave your future to chance. Hire an attorney to help you.
THE SSA MEDICAL EXPERT & HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE
Medical Experts (ME) often testify at Social Security hearings. They are called by the ALJ to review your medical records for Hashimoto’s disease. Also, they explain all of your medical conditions to the judge. Additionally, they testify as to whether or not your medical condition meets or equals an SSA listing. Similarly, an ME can be requested by your attorney. This is, however, mostly done in complex medical cases.
The medical expert who appears at the hearing is not your treating doctor. The doctor at the hearing must have never met you before. Because, the medical expert is there to give testimony about your medical records and should not be for either side of the case.
Medical experts are doctors who the SSA calls to testify about your Hashimoto’s disease at the hearing. Usually, the medical expert comes to the hearing. However, they can also testify by video or by telephone.
It is also possible for an ME to answer written questions after the hearing. These written questions are sent to the expert. The ME’s answers require review and possibly filing objections. If you do not know how to do this, then hire an attorney. Do not make the mistake of not preparing for the medical expert.
THE VOCATIONAL EXPERT AT YOUR HEARING
The VE is also an expert witness, just like the medical expert. Normally, the judge calls a VE to testify at the hearing. The Judge calls the expert to talk about jobs that are available to you based upon your ability. VEs have training in placing people in jobs. They also understand the numbers and types of jobs that exist in the nation. They are at the hearing in order to answer questions about jobs in the national economy.
Once the Judge asks you questions about your medical conditions, she will decide what you are capable of doing during an 8 hour work day. The SSA calls this your RFC. Your RFC what you can physically do throughout an 8 hour work day. Therefore, your answers to the questions at the hearing are very important. Just as the important as the medical records you submit.
The Judge listens to your hearing testimony and the takes the symptoms from your medical records to determine how your Hashimoto’s symptoms impact you on the job. At the end of your hearing, the Judge will ask the VE questions. Likewise, your attorney will also ask questions. Your attorney can also question the VE. Often it is VEs testimony that determines whether you win or lose your SSD benefits.
QUESTIONS FOR THE VOCATIONAL EXPERT
The Judge will ask questions to the VE about whether or not a person with your medical conditions can work. Typically, the Judge will use three to four different questions. These questions can include many different symptoms from your Hashimoto’s disease.
For example, the Judge may ask if a person cannot concentrate on the job, could they work. Or, the Judge may ask what kind of work would be available to a person who cannot lift more than 20 pounds. The Judge’s questions will include your RFC. Learn more here about your RFC here.
Once the Judge is done asking questions, your attorney has the right to question the VE. For those who do not hire an attorney, they are left to try to ask the VE questions on their own. Obviously, most people do not know what questions to ask because they have never been to a hearing. Nor do they have the training they need in order to understand what questions to ask.
Vocational experts testify about what kinds of jobs are available to you. However, they also testify as to the number of jobs that exist in the national economy. For example, a VE may testify as to whether your work skills can be used in other work. They will also testify about the specific jobs in which they can be used.
A VE may also testify as to the effects of other medical conditions on the range of work you can do. Likewise, the VE can testify about the erosion of the job base caused by all of your medical conditions.
HIRE US TO WIN BENEFITS FOR HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE
Unfortunately, if you do not hire an attorney with experience to help you, then you will probably lose your case. Most cases turn on the VE’s testimony at the hearing. If you are not capable of questioning the VE, you will not win. The judge relies on the VE’s testimony. So, you need to be able to prove, using VE testimony, that you cannot work. An attorney can make sure that all of your symptoms are taken into account in the VE’s testimony.
Also, the attorney who has experience is familiar with the jobs in the national economy. If the attorney has experience, then they also know what jobs the VE is likely to say that you can do. This part of the hearing is difficult. Trying to do it yourself will not work. If nothing else, you should hire an attorney to represent you if the Judge has called a VE to your hearing.
WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOU WIN SSDI AND SSI BENEFITS
If you have Hashimoto’s disease, then you need to apply for Social Security benefits. You can always call our law firm and we will help you. We can help you file your application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. For example, our attorneys and staff can:
- Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
- Help you file your application for SSDI and SSI benefits
- Inform the SSA they should pay your benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Rules
- Appeal if you receive an initial denial from DDS
- Help you confirm your Consultative Exam
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Prepare you to testify at your ALJ hearing
- Represent you at your hearing and question the expert witnesses
- Read more about job experts here
- Learn more about medical expert testimony here
- Request review of an SSA decision with the Appeals Council
- Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court
If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back. If you don’t send it back, the SSA will not process your application. Sign it and send it back as soon as you can.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO HIRE OUR LAW FIRM?
Another important factor to consider is what it costs to hire an attorney. At our law firm, you do not pay an attorney fee until we win your case. The attorney fee comes out of your past due SSD benefit. If we do not win your case, then there is no back benefit. Therefore, you will not owe an attorney fee.
How much is the attorney fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. But, the fee is capped at $7200. You do not pay more than the cap of $7200. If you win, you will pay either 25% of the back benefit or the $7200 cap. You pay whatever is the lesser amount. For example, if your back benefit is $100,000, our attorney fee would be $7200, not $25,000. Or, if your benefit is $10,000, then you would pay 25% of the back benefit. That would be $2500.
If there are costs in your case, then you pay for those costs. However, the costs are minimal. For example, you must pay for a copy of your medical records. The medical record costs whatever your doctor charges for them. You owe costs whether we win or lose your case. But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay an attorney fee upfront. That doesn’t happen when you hire our law firm to help you win SSD and SSI benefits.
HIRE US FOR OUR YEARS OF LEGAL EXPERIENCE
If you have Hashimoto’s disease, then you need to hire a law firm to help you win your benefits. Hire us. We are one of the best Social Security law firms in the country. For example, read here to see we are one of the best Social Security benefits firm in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also, we are one of the best Social Security law firms in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Learn more about Utah SSD benefits here. Nevada SSI Information is on this website. We also represent clients in Idaho. For Idaho benefits read here. Find out more about Colorado SSDI benefits here. Likewise, if you are from California, go here for California SSD & SSI information.
Over the last 30 years, we have won thousands of SSDI and SSI claims. Additionally, we have won over $100 million in SSD and SSI benefits for our clients. It has become more difficult to win Social Security cases. Also, SSA’s listing rules are harder to meet. That is why you need an attorney who will help you win your case.
We recommend you do not go to your hearing without an attorney. Why? Because a lawyer can prepare you for your hearing. She can explain the judge’s questions. Preparation will help you win your case.
Those who come to the hearing without counsel are usually not successful in winning benefits. You should hire an attorney who has legal experience winning SSD and SSI benefits. Contact Cannon Disability Law today. We can help you win benefits for Hashimoto’s disease. Call now and put our legal experience to work for you.