Social Security Disability and Lupus

The other day I had a Social Security Disability hearing for a client who suffers from lupus. It is also called or systemic lupus erythmatosus. Lupus is a chronic disorder that involves exacerbations and remissions and involves multiple body systems.

The symptoms of lupus can vary greatly and are oftentimes mistaken for other diseases. Initially patients will suffer from fever, muscle pain, joint pains, malaise and fatigue. There are other symptoms that will diagnose lupus, from dermatological, musculoskeletal and hematological symptoms to cardiac, pulmonary and neurological symptoms. These can vary greatly from thick, scaly rashes and lesions on the skin, extreme joint pain, anemia, low white blood cell count and inflammation of organs, to pulmonary hypertension and hemorrhage, as well as the presence of excess red blood cells or serum proteins in the urine. There are many, many other signs and symptoms of the disease and nearly 10 percent of those affected by lupus will have seizures or psychosis.

Lupus is distinguished by having a Social Security Impairment Listing in the Book under the name 14.02 systemic lupus erythmatosus under the category of immune system impairments.

Unlike the other listings in the book the lupus listing says you have to have lupus along with another problem caused by the lupus. The listing provides a laundry list of these other impairments:

A. One of the following other significant impairments:
1. Joint involvement;
2. Muscle involvement
3. Ocular involvement;
4. Respiratory involvement;

5. Cardiovascular involvement;
6. Digestive involvement;
7. Renal involvement;
8. Hematologic involvement;
9. Skin involvement;
10. Neurologic involvement;
11. Mental involvement


B. Lesser involvement of two or more organs/body systems listed in paragraph A, with significant, documented, constitutional symptoms and signs of severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and weight loss. At least on of the organs/body systems must be involved to at least a moderate level of severity.

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