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SYSTEMIC VASCULITIS & SSD BENEFITS

WHAT IS SYSTEMIC VASCULITIS?

Systemic vasculitis refers to a group of rare autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body. Blood vessels inflammation causes the walls of the blood vessels to thicken. Therefore, this reduces the width of the passageway through the blood vessel. If blood flow is restricted, then it can result in organ and tissue damage.

There are many types of vasculitis and most of them are rare. Vasculitis might affect just one organ, or several. The condition can be short term or long lasting. Individuals with systemic vasculitis can experience a wide range of symptoms. For example, symptoms can include fatigue, fever, joint pain, skin rashes, and organ damage.

Vasculitis can affect anyone. Some types are more common among certain age groups. Depending on the type of vasculitis you have, you may improve without treatment. However, most types of the disease require medications to control the symptoms.

If you have severe systemic vasculitis, then you may not be able to work. If the disease prevents you from working for over one year, then you should apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Systemic Vasculitis word cloud conceptual design isolated on white background.

DIFFERENT FORMS OF VASCULITIS

BEHCET’S DISEASE

Behcet’s disease, also called Behcet’s syndrome, is a rare disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout your body. The disease can lead to signs and symptoms that can seem unrelated at first. For example, symptoms can include mouth sores, skin rashes and lesions, and genital sores. Treatment involves medications to reduce the symptoms of the disease and to prevent serious problems, such as blindness.

BUERGER DISEASE

Buerger disease is a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs. In Buerger disease the blood vessels become blocked. This reduces blood flow to the affected areas. Also, blood clots may form in the blood vessels.

Over time, the lack of blood flow damages or destroys skin tissue. The damage can lead to infection and death of body tissue. In short, you get gangrene. Buerger disease is usually first seen in the feet. Blood clots may form in the small veins of the arms and legs. But it also can occur in the hands.

People who get Buerger disease almost always smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco. Quitting all forms of tobacco is the only way to stop Buerger disease. For those who don’t quit, they may have to undergo surgery to remove fingers and toes.

CHURG-STRAUSS SYNDROME

Churg-Strauss syndrome causes blood vessel inflammation, which can restrict blood flow to organs and tissues. This can permanently damage them.

Adult onset asthma is the most common sign of Churg-Strauss syndrome.  However, the disorder can also cause other problems, such as nasal allergies, sinus problems, rash, gastrointestinal bleeding, and pain and numbness in your hands and feet.

Churg-Strauss syndrome is rare and has no cure. Symptoms can usually be controlled with steroids and other powerful drugs.

CRYOGLOBULINEMIA

Cryoglobulinemia is a family of rare conditions called vasculitis. Vasculitis causes swelling and inflammation of the blood vessels.

Cryoglobulins are atypical proteins in the blood. For people who have cryoglobulinemia, these proteins may clump together at body temperatures below 98.6 F. These clumps can block blood flow. This can damage the skin, joints, nerves and organs, mainly the kidneys and liver.

GIANT CELL ARTERITIS

Giant cell arteritis is an inflammation of the lining of your arteries. Most often, it affects the arteries in your head, especially those in your temples. For this reason, giant cell arteritis is sometimes called temporal arteritis.

Giant cell arteritis frequently causes headaches, scalp tenderness, jaw pain and vision problems. Untreated, it can lead to blindness.

Prompt treatment with steroid medications usually relieves the symptoms and might prevent loss of vision. You’ll likely begin to feel better within days of starting treatment. But even with treatment, relapses are common. You will need to visit your doctor regularly for checkups and treatment.

GRANULOMATOSIS WITH POLYANGIITIS (WEGENER’S)

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis is an rare disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels in your nose, sinuses, throat, lungs and kidneys. This condition used to called Wegener’s granulomatosis.  The disease slows blood flow to some of your organs. The affected tissues can develop areas of inflammation called granulomas, which can affect how your organs work.

Early diagnosis and treatment of of the disease might lead to a full recovery. However, without treatment, the condition can be fatal.

HENOCK-SCHONLEIN PURPURA

Henoch-Schonlein purpura is a disorder that causes the small blood vessels in your skin, joints, intestines and kidneys to bleed. The main feature of this form of vasculitis is a purplish rash which usually occurs on the lower legs and buttocks. Henoch-Schonlein purpura can also cause pain in the abdomen and aching joints. Also, although it is rare, serious kidney damage can occur.

Henoch-Schonlein purpura can affect anyone. But, it is most common in children under 10 years old. The condition usually improves on its own. Medical care is needed if the disorder affects the kidneys.

KAWASAKI DISEASE

Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in the walls of the blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body. The disease most often affects the heart arteries in children. Those arteries supply oxygen rich blood to the heart.

Kawasaki disease is sometimes called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, because it also causes swelling in the lymph nodes and swelling inside the mouth, nose, eyes and throat.

Children with Kawasaki disease might have high fever, swollen hands and skin that peels on their feet and red eyes. Kawasaki disease does respond to treatment. With early treatment, most children get better and have no lifelong problems.

TAKAYASU’S ARTERITIS

Takayasu’s arteritis is a rare type of vasculitis. In this disease, the swelling damages the aorta. This is the large artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body.

The disease can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries, or artery walls that may bulge and tear. It can also lead to arm or chest pain, high blood pressure, and heart failure or stroke.

If you don’t have symptoms, then you may not need treatment. However, most people with the disease need medications to prevent complications. Even with treatment, relapses are common, and your symptoms may come and go.

SYMPTOMS OF SYSTEMIC VASCULITIS

Symptoms of systemic vasculitis can vary depending on the type of the condition and which organs are affected. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or weak, which can interfere with daily activities.
  • Fever: A recurrent fever, often without an obvious cause.
  • Joint pain: Inflammation of the joints, leading to pain, and reduced mobility.
  • Skin rashes: Various types of skin rashes or lesions, such as purpura (small purple or red spots), ulcers, or nodules.
  • Muscle pain: Inflammation of the muscles, causing pain.
  • Nerve problems: Numbness, weakness, or loss of sensation due to nerve damage.
  • Organ specific symptoms: Depending on which organs are affected, symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, chest pain (if the lungs are involved), bleeding, kidney damage, vision changes, or headaches.
  • Systemic symptoms: Systemic vasculitis symptoms may include weight loss and malaise.

Systemic vasculitis can present differently in each individual. Some people may experience only a few symptoms, while others may have widespread symptoms. Medical evaluation and professional treatment are crucial to manage your symptoms and prevent further problems.

TREATMENT FOR SYSTEMIC VASCULITIS

Treatment for vasculitis depends on the extent of the disease, as well as the patient. The goals of treatment are to reduce inflammation and organ damage, lessen symptoms and improve the quality of life. Here are some common treatment approaches:

  • Steroids: Drugs like prednisone are often used to suppress inflammation and control symptoms. However, steroid use over time can have serious side effects. Therefore, your doctor will taper the dosage as soon as possible.
  • Immunosuppressant medications: In more severe cases, when steroids aren’t enough, drugs that suppress your immune system may be given to you. Chemotherapy is one example of this type of medication.
  • Biologic therapy: Certain drugs, such as drugs that target specific B cells, may be used in treatment.
  • Plasma exchange: This procedure involves removing and replacing blood plasma. This removes harmful antibodies from your blood. Plasma exchange is sometimes used in severe cases, especially when there is kidney involvement.
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs): These drugs may be used to help maintain remission and reduce the need for steroid use.
  • Biopsies: In some cases, a biopsy of tissue, such as your skin or kidney, may be done to confirm the diagnosis and guide your treatment.
  • Supportive care: This may include pain management, physical therapy, and counseling to help cope with the physical and emotional challenges of living with vasculitis.

It is important for people with systemic vasculitis to work with their doctor and any medical experts to develop a treatment plan. Regular monitoring is essential to assess your treatment response and manage side effects. The goal is to prevent disease flares.

FILE FOR SSD BENEFITS IF YOU HAVE SYSTEMIC VASCULITIS

Qualifying for SSD benefits means you have a severe medical condition that prevents you from working at any job in the national economy. The symptoms of systemic vasculitis can be so severe that they prevent you from working. The SSA uses a five step review process to determine if they can pay you benefits.

There are two types of Social Security benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. You can file an application online at the Social Security’s website for either one or both. Below, you can find an explanation as to each type of benefit you can file for:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):  

SSDI benefits are for those who can no longer work due to a severe medical condition like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The amount of money you receive from SSDI benefits is based on the taxes you paid during your working years. 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 depends on how old you are when you apply. If you haven’t earned enough work credits at the time you apply, then you will only be able to file for SSI benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI):  

SSI is a needs based benefit. It is for only 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 who live with you, such as a spouse, not just your income and assets.

If you have a spouse who earns more than $4000 a month, then that income will prevent you from getting SSI benefits. The same rule applies if you are living with a boyfriend and he is paying your bills. Also, the same rule applies if you are living with your mother and she is paying your bills. You cannot get SSI benefits, no matter how severe your medical condition, if you do not meet the income and asset rules for SSI.

SSA LISTING FOR SYSTEMIC VASCULITIS

In order to meet SSA’s listing for vasculitis, you must have all of the elements under listing 14.03.

14.03 Systemic vasculitis. As described in 14.00D2. With:

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

1. One of the organs or 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 systemic vasculitis, 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 social function.

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

Under 14.00D2, the SSA requires you to have angiography or tissue biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. However, the SSA will not pay for the biopsy.

You can also equal listing 14.03 under another listing. For example, if you have systemic vasculitis and you develop severe kidney disease and require dialysis or a kidney transplant, then they may meet the listing for chronic kidney disease (Listing 6.00).

Similarly, if the vasculitis affects the respiratory system, causing severe lung issues, then you may qualify for benefits under the listing for respiratory disorders (Listing 3.00).

RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY (RFC) AND WINNING SSD BENEFITS

If you have systemic vasculitis, then the SSA will look at all of your symptoms and determine your RFC. The RFC is what is “found” at step four of the Social Security review process. While DDS determines your RFC at the lower levels of your claim. Once the case moves to the a hearing, it is the ALJ who will determine your RFC. Your RFC can help you win benefits by showing you cannot sustain a job 40 hours a week. Find out more about what questions the judge will ask at your Social Security hearing.

In order for the ALJ’s RFC assessment to comply with SSA’s rules, the RFC must include a narrative discussion. The discussion is written in the ALJ’s decision. The ALJ must describe how the medical evidence supports each conclusion. Also, it must cite specific medical facts and other evidence.

Also, the ALJ must discuss your ability to perform work activities in an ordinary work setting on a regular basis (i.e., 8 hours a day for 5 days a week). In the written decision, the ALJ must describe the maximum amount of each work related activity that you can perform based on the evidence in the record. Also, the ALJ must explain how the evidence was considered and, if there are any discrepancies in the record, how they were resolved.

WE HELP YOU WIN BENEFITS FOR SYSTEMIC VASCULITIS

You do not need to try to win SSD and SSI benefits by yourself. We can help file your SSD application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. For example, our attorneys and staff can:

If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Try not to take that long to finish it. 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 need help to file your application, then we will help you.

HOW WILL YOU PAY THE ATTORNEY FEE?

We will use our legal skills to help you through the Social Security appeal process. It is our goal to win your case. But, it also our goal to make the appeal process easier for you. We offer a free review of your case. If you call, there is no pressure to become our client. You ask questions, we answer.

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. If we win, then the SSA pays us out of your back benefits. Learn more about past due benefits. If you do not win, then you do not pay an attorney fee.

How much is the attorney fee? The attorney fee is whatever is less between 25% of your back benefit and the fee cap. This is best understood through an example. If your back benefit is $10,000, then your attorney fee would be $2500.

However, if your back benefit is $100,000, you would not pay 25% or $25,000 in attorney fees. Instead, you would pay the amount of the fee cap. In November 2022, the fee cap will be $7200. Therefore, if you win your case, then your fee is capped at the $7200 amount.

Regardless, you pay whatever is less between 25% of your back benefit and the fee cap. Additionally, you only owe an attorney fee if we win your case. Find out more about what it will cost to hire our law firm.

WE OFFER A FREE REVIEW OF YOUR SSD BENEFITS 

We offer a free review of your SSD and SSI benefits. What that means is that you can call us and explain your situation. At that point, we will look at the merits of your case for free and let you know if you have a chance to win benefits. We do not charge you for our review of your case.

In the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in SSDI and SSI benefits for our clients. We are experts at what we do and we will put our knowledge to work for you. Hire us to be your Social Security legal team.

We help clients win benefits in many states, including Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and California. Find out more about your benefits and how to apply in your state here:

No matter where you live, we want to be your legal team. Hire the best Social Security legal team with no money down. Also, there will be no attorney fee unless we win your case. Contact us today. We will do our best to help you win SSDI and SSI benefits for your systemic vasculitis. We know that not being able to work and running through your savings creates stress. Therefore, we will also due our best to win your benefits as quickly we can.

HIRE US FOR OUR YEARS OF LEGAL EXPERIENCE

The SSA benefits application and appeal process can be long and complex. Hire Cannon Disability Law to give you legal advice and walk you through the application process. In the past 30 years, we have won millions of dollars in ongoing and past due benefits for our clients.

If you want to win SSDI and SSI benefits, then hire an attorney with the legal experience to win your case. You only pay us an attorney fee when you win your SSD benefits. If you don’t win, then you don’t pay an attorney fee. Hire an attorney to increase your chances of winning SSD benefits. For help, contact us today.

If you want to learn more about our lawyers and staff, then read About Us. For example, you can learn about Andria Summers, who has 21 years of experience working at our law firm. She can also help you with your Medicare advantage plan. She has won thousands of SSDI and SSI cases.

Additionally, Dianna Cannon has been helping her clients win benefits for over thirty years. Ms. Cannon has years of Federal Court experience. She has also taught law school and written a book on SSDI benefits. Brett Bunkall also has years of legal experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. We are Social Security law experts.

You can trust us to help you win your benefits. Dealing with systemic vasculitis is difficult and frustrating. Make it easier on yourself by hiring the right SSD law firm. We will do everything we can to make the process of winning SSD benefits easier for you.

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