The effects of scleroderma on your body can prevent you from working your job and make it difficult to make ends meet in Pittsburgh. If this has happened to you, you may qualify for Social Security disability for scleroderma. This could include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The team from Berger and Green can help you understand what the Social Security Administration looks for in a qualifying disability claim. We review your case for free and help you file for benefits. We can also fight for the benefits you need through the appeals process if they denied your initial application. Call us today to get started: 412-661-1400.
Getting Disability Based on Your Scleroderma Diagnosis
The Social Security Administration publishes a list of qualifying impairments and the criteria you must meet to receive disability benefits. The “Blue Book” includes a listing for scleroderma: Section 14.04 – Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma). According to this listing, you may get benefits if there is medical evidence in your records to prove:
- Your scleroderma involves at least two of your body systems; and
- At least one of the systems is at least moderately involved; and
- You suffer at least two of the following symptoms: severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or weight loss
Your scleroderma symptoms include one of the following:
- Toe contractures or other issues of the foot that prevent effective mobility; or
- Finger contractures or other issues of the hands that impair fine and gross motor skills; or
- Irreversible atrophy in one or both legs and feet that prevent mobility; or
- Irreversible atrophy in one or both arms and hands that impair fine and gross motor skills
Raynaud’s phenomenon that includes:
- Gangrene in two extremities; or
- Ischemia and ulcerations of extremities that is severe enough to cause impairment
Repeated flare-ups that include:
- At least two of the following: fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss; and
- Severe limitations that include: limitation of activities of daily living; or limitation in social functioning; or limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace
The disability examiner who evaluates your case will need access to your medical records, including the medical evidence needed to prove your impairment. This could include clinical test results, medical imaging, treatment notes, and more. When you submit your claim, you need to include the contact information for all your medical care providers. This process can be complicated, but we are ready to help.
Getting Disability for Scleroderma Without Meeting an Impairment Listing
You may be able to get Social Security disability for scleroderma even if your symptoms do not meet the criteria outlined in the Blue Book. This is possible based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). An RFC test is an evaluation of your abilities despite your impairments and tells the disability examiner the type of work you can do, how long you can work, and how often you can work.
The Social Security Administration evaluates your RFC in three ways:
- The disability examiner can assign your RFC based on your medical records, evidence, and information in your application; or
- Your doctor can complete an RFC evaluation form based on her knowledge of your case; or
- You can attend a consultative exam paid for and scheduled by the Social Security Administration, and this doctor will evaluate your abilities
If this evaluation finds your symptoms prevent you from working your last job or any other job you may be qualified to work, you are likely to be approved for disability. You may also qualify if you can work but require accommodations because of your impairments.
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Be Aware of Mistakes That Lead to Technical Denials
Before forwarding your application to the Office of Disability Determination Services to evaluate your medical qualifications, the staff from the local Social Security field office will ensure you meet all the technical qualifications.
The technical qualifications differ by program but include things like:
- Earning below the substantial gainful activity for SSDI
- Having enough work credits for SSDI
- Meeting the individual or household income limit for SSI
- Meeting the strict asset limit for SSI
In addition to these rules, you could receive a technical denial if you made a mistake on your paperwork. This could include missing questions, incorrect answers, and incomplete paperwork.
Our Social Security disability lawyers ensure your paperwork is ready to go before filing to avoid these technical denials. We even help you compile contact information for your doctors and file your application. Call us today to get started: 412-661-1400.
We Can Appeal a Pittsburgh Disability Denial
The Social Security Administration denies more than half of all applications, leaving many people who need disability trying to navigate the appeals process and fighting for the benefits they deserve. We can walk you through this process, requesting your appeals hearing — if there is sufficient time to do so — and representing you to the Administrative Law Judge.
It can take more than a year between the time we request your appeals hearing and when the hearing date arrives. During this period, we will:
- Investigate why the Social Security Administration denied your claim
- Communicate with you regularly about the status of your case
- Collect evidence prior to your hearing and build a robust case for approval
- Present your case to the Administrative Law Judge during your hearing
Let us handle your appeal, and we will go after the monthly benefits and back pay you deserve. If we cannot get you approved during your appeals hearing, we may be able to take additional steps to get the disability benefits you need.
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Getting Social Security Disability for Scleroderma in Pittsburgh, PA
If you cannot work because your scleroderma symptoms cause problems with mobility, dexterity, or concentration, you may qualify for Social Security Disability. We can review your situation and help you file your claim. We can also fight a denial.
If you suffer an impairment because of an injury that occurred in a personal injury accident, we may be able to pursue additional compensation in your case.
Call the Berger and Green team today at 412-661-1400 for your free case evaluation.