Suffering from a hereditary, congenital, or acquired skin disorder can severely limit your abilities and make it difficult to work. If you suffer from a condition that prevents you from holding down a job or requires substantial accommodations to retain your job, you may be eligible to draw disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In addition, you may qualify if you suffer limitations because of burns and other soft tissue injuries.
Some of the skin disorders the Social Security Administration (SSA) may award benefits for include ichthyosis, epidermolysis bullosa and similar diseases, chronic skin infections, dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and genetic photosensitivity disorders.
If your doctor diagnosed you with a skin disorder and you need help getting the government benefits you deserve, Berger and Green can help. Our legal team can help you understand what it takes to qualify for these benefits, ensure the SSA has the information they need to contact your doctors and collect proof of your diagnosis, and fight for you in the appeals process, if necessary. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 to learn more about Social Security Disability (SSD) for skin disorders in Pittsburgh.
What criteria do I have to meet for the SSA to deem me disabled?
While there are other SSD qualifications you must meet before you can draw benefits, the toughest is usually proving you cannot work at your job or another job because of your condition. The SSA publishes a list of impairments that outline the severity of conditions that may qualify for SSD.
The criteria to be eligible for benefits because of a skin condition are in Section 8.00 – Skin Disorders of the impairment listings. While they vary slightly based on your diagnosis, almost all of them call for extensive skin lesions. These usually occur on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, the joints, or other areas of the body that make it difficult to walk or complete work tasks.
For most conditions, these lesions must continue for at least 90 days, despite treatment. They cannot lessen in severity or improve enough to allow you to regain mobility during this time. For most genetic photosensitivity disorders or acquired burns, the lesions must be present for a year. Those who suffer from xeroderma pigmentosum may qualify at the time of diagnosis, usually birth.
If you are unsure if your condition qualifies under the SSA’s guidelines, contact us. Our disability attorneys can help you navigate the agency’s impairment listings to see if you meet the requirements.
What is a residual functional capacity and why is it important?
If your skin disorder prevents you from working, but does not meet the qualifications in the impairment listings, you will need to rely on your residual functional capacity to gain eligibility for SSD benefits. The SSA analyzes your condition and the limitations it causes based on your medical records, documentation from your doctor, and sometimes the opinion of an independent medical professional. Their findings constitute your residual functional capacity.
This assessment outlines which tasks you can perform in the workplace, how often you can work, and how long you can sustain your work. Generally, you must show extremely limited abilities to qualify for government benefits. If the SSA finds you can work at your previous job, at any job you worked in the past, or at a simple job that requires no special skills, you may not qualify.
What does the SSA need to see from my doctor to approve me for SSD benefits?
When the SSA looks at your file, they will need to see specific information and documentation of your condition. This includes:
- The onset date of your lesions;
- The duration of your current condition;
- The severity of the lesions, including their location and size;
- Your future prognosis; and
- Any other factors that may help them understand your condition.
They will also need to see laboratory test results, biopsies, and other medical evidence to confirm your diagnosis. Then, they will look into your treatment and determine if it has been effective.
As you can probably see, all this relies on you having a well-documented medical history, a clear diagnosis, and a close working relationship with your doctor when it comes to managing your condition. To give yourself the best shot at getting the benefits you deserve, you need to follow all of your doctor’s orders, keep all appointments, and follow any treatments they recommend. This is vital to a successful SSD claim.
How can a lawyer help me secure disability benefits for my skin condition?
At Berger and Green, our disability lawyers go to bat for clients who need help filing a claim for government benefits or who are fighting a benefits denial when they rightfully deserve disability payments. We have decades of experience with the disability claims process and we know what the SSA looks for in each application. We can give you a better chance of approval when you apply for disability benefits.
If you suffer from a skin disorder that will likely keep you out of work for an extended period of time, meet medical qualifications, and meet certain work history requirements, you may qualify for SSDI benefits. Those with a low income and few assets may also meet the criteria for the SSI program. We can help you understand your eligibility for each of these programs before you apply.
If you already received a denial based on your original application, we can also assist with your SSD appeal. You need experienced representation to guide you through this process and we are ready to go to work on your claim.
How can I talk to a disability attorney at Berger and Green?
We offer complimentary consultations, meaning you can get an evaluation for free about your claim. If you have questions about the services we offer or want to make an appointment to discuss how we can help you, call the Pittsburgh office of Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400.