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LUPUS DISABILITY BENEFITS

CAN YOU GET DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR LUPUS?

Lupus disability benefits are available for people with severe lupus symptoms who cannot work a full-time job. Are you a full-time worker who pays your taxes? If so, you might be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. You should apply if you can no longer work due to your lupus symptoms.

In order to win SSD benefits, you must have severe symptoms of Lupus. Those symptoms must keep you from working a full-time job for over 12 months. In other words, your Lupus symptoms must create a total and permanent disability. We will need to collect your medical records to document your disability for the SSA. To hire us contact Cannon Disability Law.

WHAT IS LUPUS?

Lupus is a disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. This is known as an autoimmune disease. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems. For example, body systems in danger of attack by lupus include your skin, major joints, kidneys, brain, heart and lungs. There are such symptoms as lupus face swelling, lupus patches or lesions, lupus bumps, and mild malar or butterfly face rash.

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms are often similar to other diseases. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus. You can have lupus without the butterfly rash on the face and without a rash on other parts of your body.

TRIGGERS FOR LUPUS

It appears that people with an inherited predisposition for lupus may develop the disease when they come into contact with something in the environment that can trigger lupus. The cause of lupus in most cases, however, is unknown. Some potential triggers include:

  • Sunlight. Exposure to the sun may bring on lupus skin lesions or trigger an internal response in susceptible people.
  • Infections. Having an infection can initiate lupus or cause a relapse in some people.
  • Medications. Lupus can be triggered by certain types of blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications and antibiotics. People who have drug-induced lupus usually get better when they stop taking the medication. Rarely, symptoms may persist even after the drug is stopped.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR LUPUS?

There are factors that may increase your risk of lupus. Factors that may increase your risk of lupus include:

  • Your sex. Lupus is more common in women.
  • Age. Although lupus affects people of all ages, it’s most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45.
  • Race. Lupus is more common in African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans.

Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus. Lupus may be triggered by infections, certain drugs, or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LUPUS?

signs of lupus; Lupus disease vector illustration. Labeled diagram with sickness symptoms, like hair loss, high blood pressure, muscle or joints pain and butterfly rash red patches.

No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly. Lupus cases range from mild to severe and the symptoms may wax and wane. Most people with lupus have mild disease. Mild disease episodes — called flares — occur when signs and symptoms get worse for a short while. Then, the symptoms may improve or even disappear for a time.

The signs and symptoms of lupus that you experience will depend on which body systems the disease affects. However, the most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose
  • Lupus circular rash
  • Lupus rash on the legs
  • Rashes elsewhere on the body
  • Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure
  • Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches, confusion and memory loss

WHAT ARE THE FIVE DIFFERENT TYPES OF LUPUS?

There are five forms of lupus:

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is the most common form of the disease. Also, it is the most serious form of lupus since it involves the entire body.
  • Discoid Lupus is an illness which only effects the skin. This type of lupus requires a specific rash for diagnosis. It occurs with a scarring rash of circular-shaped lesions, but does not include the other symptoms that SLE contains. However, individuals with SLE often have the same rash.
  • Subacute Cutaneous Lupus involves a more widespread rash that can often become worse with sun exposure. It is a limited form of lupus that occurs in about 50% of SLE cases.
  • Drug-induced Lupus is rare and is triggered by certain drugs. These drugs are Hydralazine and some anti-seizure drugs. Drug-induced lupus can cause joint pain, rashes, and inflammation of the heart or lungs. It typically goes away if the drug is stopped.
  • Neonatal lupus occurs in infants whose mothers have specific blood abnormalities. It does not occur in infants whose mothers who have SLE but do not have these abnormalities. The symptoms consist of a rash and blood test abnormalities that disappear within a few months. However, in some rare cases, it can lead to serious heart disease.

TREATMENT FOR LUPUS

Depending on the symptoms, blood test results and the particular organs involved, a person with lupus may receive one or more of the following treatments:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • corticosteroids
  • immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine (Imuran), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral), and mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • biological agents such as belimumab (Benlysta), rituximab (Rituxan), TNF alpha inhibitors (Enbrel, Humira,Cimzia, and others)
  • other biological agents now considered experimental, including those that block, interferon and other cytokines
  • (for special circumstances) intravenous immunoglobulin, vitamins/antioxidants or drugs used for other purposes but which may be effective, such as:
    • eculizumab (to inhibit complement)
    • angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (to control blood pressure and protect kidneys)
    • antidepressants
    • anti-seizure medications

With proper treatment, most people with lupus can expect to have a normal lifespan. However, many people with lupus may experience disability. Lupus symptoms usually respond to one or more of the treatments described above. If you have Lupus you must seek medical treatment. Likewise, if you want to win SSD benefits you must have consistent, ongoing medical treatment that demonstrates disability.

LUPUS DISABILITY BENEFITS AND KIDNEY DISEASE

About one-third of patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus develop kidney disease. Kidney disease can be life threatening. When you have kidney disease, along with lupus, it is known as lupus nephritis.  The symptoms of lupus nephritis can include swelling or puffiness in your feet and legs. You could also have high protein levels in you urine and need to go to the bathroom more often than normal. You may also have blood in your urine. Also, high blood pressure can accompany kidney disease.

Many cases of lupus involving the kidney are mild. However, up to 10% of patients with lupus nephritis can  develop kidney failure. Kidney failure means you will need dialysis. And, it could require a kidney transplant. However, approximately one-third of patients who start dialysis during an acute lupus flare will improve. These individuals usually discontinue dialysis in the first year. Patients with lupus and severe kidney disease need to see a rheumatologist. You should also see a kidney specialist. It is important to have ongoing treatment for your condition. New treatments also become available over time.

If you have kidney disease along with SLE, there is a very good chance that you will meet the SSA’s criteria for disability benefits. The criteria for Lupus, SSA listing 14.02, is discussed below.

Doctor holding in hand Systemic Lupus

HOW DOES THE SSA EVALUATE LUPUS AS A DISABILITY?

Lupus disability benefits are available for those that meet the SSA criteria. The SSA looks to listing 14.02 to determine if you have a disability. Your doctor needs to refer to listing 14.02 and confirm you have the symptoms. In order to meet the listing criteria, you must have a diagnosis of SLE and have the criteria below:

14.02 Systemic lupus erythematosus. As described in 14.00D1. With:

A. Involvement of two or more organs/body systems, with:

1. One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and

2. At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).

OR

B. Repeated manifestations of SLE, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

LUPUS SUPPORT GROUPS

Many of our clients with Lupus feel isolated. They would like to have more information about support groups. And, they would like current research on Lupus treatment. If you are in that category, we have outlined some options below. You may like the idea of a local support group, but have trouble finding one. Also, it is possible that your Lupus symptoms make online groups a better option for you. We’ve identified a list of the best options below. Try to find a group that is supportive and right for you. Most of these resources are online, but several have in-person group options. Remember, you are not alone.

CANNON DISABILITY CAN WIN YOUR LUPUS DISABILITY BENEFITS

At Cannon Disability Law we specialize in helping you prove your lupus disability. Our goal is to develop your case so that your medical records show the SSA you cannot work due to your depression. In order to do this, we will need you to obtain treatment records. Likewise, we will need the support of your rheumatologist and primary care doctor. We need to prove that your Lupus contains the elements under Listing 14.02.

Our legal team works to prepare you and your case for success. Over the course of your case, we will collect your medical records. Medical records from your treating sources prove your disability. We will also try to get statements from your doctors. These statements should support your disability. You must seek treatment for you lupus in order to win benefits. We know you need disability benefits to replace your income. Over the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in past-due benefits for our clients. We have helped hundreds of people with Lupus. Contact us today for your free consultation.

OUR EXPERT DISABILITY REPRESENTATIVES

Our representatives want to be your disability legal team. We bring over 60 years of experience to your disability case. For example, Dianna Cannon practices and teaches disability law. She has done so for thirty years. Additionally, Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers have many years of litigation experience representing clients in disability hearings. You can trust that our representatives will do everything they can to win your SSD and SSI benefits.

If you are worrying about the cost to hire an attorney, then stop. We can take away your worry. And, you can hire us for no money upfront. We work on a contingency fee. This means we are paid an attorney fee after we have won your case. We are paid 25% of your back benefits, with a cap of $6000 or 25% of the back benefits. The attorney fee is whatever is less. If we do not win, then there is no attorney fee. That is right.  If there is no back benefit for you, there is no attorney fee for us. You can also call us for a free consultation.

HIRE US BECAUSE WE WANT TO WIN YOUR LUPUS DISABILITY BENEFITS

Many people think they need to hire an attorney where they live. But, that is not true. We can represent you no matter where you live. For example, we are members of the bar in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Learn more about our legal experience on our About Us page. It is our goal to win disability benefits for you. However, it is also our goal to make the disability review process easier for you. Contact our legal team today.

You will need help filling out your SSD application. We will help with that. Likewise, you will need help completing SSA’s forms. We will review your forms to make sure they are done right. Additionally, we help you in other ways. When you receive a denial, for example, we will appeal it. We will appeal your initial denial. Also, we will appeal your reconsideration denial. And, we will request a hearing for you. When it is time for your hearing, we will make sure your records are complete. Then, we will prepare you to be a witness. You will know what to say to the judge. Also, we will cross-examine witnesses. At your hearing, we won’t let you be treated unfairly. You need a strong advocate on your side. Hire us to help you win your lupus disability benefits.

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