LUPUS DISABILITY BENEFITS
CAN YOU GET LUPUS DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Lupus disability benefits are available for people with severe lupus symptoms who cannot work for more than one year. Are you a worker who pays your taxes? Did you stop working for over 12 months due to lupus? If so, you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Lupus benefits take the place of income if you can’t work. The amount of your monthly SSD benefit is specific to you. Because, it is based on the amount of money your earn. You should apply if you can no longer work due to your Lupus symptoms.
It is easy to apply for benefits. You can apply online at the Social Security’s website. The website is easy to follow. If you don’t have all the information you need when you apply, then you can return to the site at a later time.
All you need is a “re-entry” number. The site gives you that number after you fill out a few answers. The day you start your application is important. Because that is the day that determines the start of your benefit payments. Apply online as soon as you can.
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. 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. It is 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. Symptoms include a swollen face, lupus patches or lesions, lupus bumps, and a butterfly face rash. Lupus can also cause hair loss, blood clots, and a malar rash.
Around 200,000 people in the USA, according to the CDC, have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Although anyone can develop lupus, but it is more common to find the condition in Black and Latina women and women of childbearing age. Therefore, in the USA, women account for more than 90% of lupus cases. However, men can also get lupus.
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms are often similar to other diseases. The most distinct sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — does not occur in all lupus cases. 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 a 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, however, is unknown. Some potential triggers include:
- Sunlight. Exposure to the sun may bring on lupus skin lesions or trigger a 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. Symptoms may persist even after the drug is stopped. But, is is rare.
In order to win your benefits, we will need to collect your medical records to document your lupus symptoms. The SSA will need to know what triggers your lupus symptoms.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR LUPUS?
There are some 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 caused by infections, certain drugs, or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.
SYMPTOMS OF LUPUS
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:
- 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
- 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, liver problems, 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)
- 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:
- angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (to control blood pressure and protect kidneys)
- anti-seizure medications
With proper treatment, most people with lupus can expect to have a normal lifespan. Lupus symptoms usually respond to one or more of the treatments described above. However, many people with lupus cannot work.
If you have Lupus, then seek medical care. Likewise, if you want to win SSD benefits you must have consistent medical treatment that shows you cannot work, despite your compliance with treatment.
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, almost 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 the SSA will pay you benefits. The criteria for Lupus, SSA listing 14.02, is discussed below.
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 meet the listing. Your doctor needs to refer to listing 14.02 and confirm you have the symptoms. In order to meet the listing, you must have a diagnosis of SLE and have the symptoms 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).
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 AS DESCRIBED BY THE SSA LISTING
The SSA listing, under 14.00 D1, states systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect any organ or body system. It is often accompanied by constitutional symptoms or signs, such as severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and involuntary weight loss.
The SSA listing states that major organ or body system involvement can include: the respiratory system, (pleuritis, pneumonitis), cardiovascular (endocarditis, myocarditis, pericarditis, vasculitis), renal (nephritis), hematologic (anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia), skin (photosensitivity), neurologic (seizures), mental issues (anxiety, brain fog), mood disorders, organic brain syndrome, (psychosis), or immune system disorders (inflammatory arthritis).
CAN YOU DIE FROM LUPUS?
Studies show that between 10-15 percent of people with lupus have a shorter life due to lupus complications. A Lupus Foundation of America study found that lupus was among the top 20 leading causes of death in females. Among Black and Hispanic women lupus ranked 5th in the 15-24 year old age group. It ranked 6th in the 25-34 year old age group. And, it was 8th-9th in the 35-44 year old age group.
The National Resource Center on Lupus states that the most common cause of death in people with lupus was kidney failure. However, access to dialysis and the possibility of a kidney transplant, has decreased the frequency of death. As death from kidney disease gone down, death from heart attacks and cardiovascular disease related to lupus, have gone up. Right now, cardiovascular disease related is the leading cause of death in people with lupus.
While it is true that organ damage, as well as infections from lupus, can cause death. The treatment of lupus with new medications means that most people with the lupus will live a normal life span.
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 one of those people, we have some options for you 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.
- The Best Overall: Lupus Research Alliance
- Best for Those With Multiple Illnesses: The Mighty
- Specific Groups: LupusConnect
- Finding Clinical Trials: Smart Patients
- Connection with Others: MyLupusTeam
- In-Person Connection: Kaleidoscope Fighting Lupus
CANNON DISABILITY CAN WIN YOUR LUPUS BENEFITS
At Cannon Disability Law we are experts in helping you prove your Lupus disability. We 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 has all of 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 you deserve benefits. We will also try to get statements from your doctors. These statements should support your case and state you cannot work due to lupus.
You must seek treatment for you Lupus in order to win benefits. We know you need SSD and SSI benefits to replace your income. Over the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in back due and ongoing benefits for our clients. We have helped hundreds of people with Lupus. Take advantage of our free review of your case. Contact us today.
OUR LAWYERS & LUPUS DISABILITY BENEFITS
Our lawyers want to be your legal team. We bring over 30 years of experience to your Social Security case. For example, Dianna Cannon practices and teaches disability law. She has been helping people win SSD benefits 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 lawyers and staff will do everything they can to win your SSD and SSI benefits.
Not only do we attempt to win your ongoing SSD benefits, we also try to win all of your past due benefits. When you file your application, it can take so long to get through the process that you will be due back benefits. Also, if you have prior applications, you might be able to win past due benefits on those applications. Learn more about past due SSD benefits here.
If you are worrying about the cost to hire an attorney, then stop. We can take away your worry. Why? Because, you can hire us for no money upfront. We work on a contingency fee. This means we are paid an attorney fee after we win your case.
We are paid 25% of your back benefits, with a cap of $7200 or 25% of the back benefits. The attorney fee is whatever is less between the two. 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 today for a free review of your case.
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 many states.
You can find out about Utah SSDI benefits on our website. Also, we have information about Nevada SSD and SSI benefits and California SSD benefits. Learn more about our legal experience on our About Us page. It is our goal to win benefits for you. However, it is also our goal to make the SSA 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 to complete 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 first and second denials. And, we will request a hearing for you. If we are successful at the early stages of your case, we will also make sure that the SSA sends you all the benefits you are due.
In addition to SSDI and SSI benefits, the SSA will also award you health insurance benefits. For example, SSDI benefits come with Medicare. Learn more about Medicare benefits here. SSI comes with Medicaid. You can learn more here about Medicaid benefits.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE SOCIAL SECURITY HEARING?
When it is time for your hearing, we will make sure your records are complete. We will need records from your primary care doctor and from your doctor who treats you for lupus. If you have mental issues, we will need record from your psychologist and counselor. Hopefully, these treating doctors will write you a letter that explains your symptoms and why they keep you from working.
Once we have all your records, then we will prepare you to testify in court. We will review questions the judge might ask. You will know what to say to the judge. Also, the judge often calls experts to give testimony. These witnesses are a medical expert and a vocational expert. We will question these witnesses for you.
The medical expert is there to give testimony about your medical records. Also, the medical expert should know SSA’s rules. The judge will usually ask the medical expert whether your lupus meets or equals listing 14.02. Learn more here about the role of the medical expert at your hearing.
Find out more here about what questions the judge asks at your hearing. At the hearing, we won’t let you be treated unfairly. You need a lawyer with experience on your side. The SSA will try to deny your claim. Hire us to help you win your Lupus disability benefits.
NO UPFRONT FEES TO HIRE US FOR YOUR LUPUS CASE
We use our legal skills to help you through the Social Security process. It is our goal to win your case. But, it also our goal to make it easier for you. We offer a free review of your case. There is no pressure to become a client if you call. However, even though we don’t take all cases, we will still try to help you.
It also doesn’t cost you any 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, you pay us out of your back benefits.
If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee. How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. But, the SSA has set an attorney fee cap of $7200. Therefore, you never pay more than the cap at the hearing level of your case. You will pay whatever is the lesser amount and only if we win your benefits.
If there are costs in your case, then you pay those costs. However, costs are usually less than $100. Usually the only cost is to pay for medical records. You owe costs whether we win or lose your case. In order to hire most lawyers, you have to pay a fee upfront. However, you can’t do that because you don’t have a job. We understand. Which is why you only pay an attorney fee to us if we win your lupus disability benefits.