Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage your skin, joints and the organs inside your body. Normally, the immune system produces antibodies that protect your body from viruses, bacteria and germs. However, when you have lupus, your immune system can’t tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissue. As a result, lupus creates antibodies that attack and destroy your healthy tissue causing inflammation, pain and damage to your body. Here are 4 Tips to Getting Approved for Lupus
- Treat with a Rheumatologist and Confirm Your Diagnosis: You will need results of diagnostic tests used to rule out other medical conditions that cause similar symptoms as lupus
- Educate Your Rheumatologist Of Your Symptoms: Remember Social Security Judges rely on your doctors notes when making a decision on whether you can work! Specifically, the judges are looking for symptoms in the notes that impact your daily functioning and your ability to work. Often, this is not going to be in the medical records unless you make it your business to tell your doctor about these problems. Work-impairing symptoms from RA include:
- Fatigue: Fatigue and a general feeling of “illness” may prevent you from getting out of bed or leaving your home and therefore mean frequent absences from work.
- Pain, inflammation, and weakness: Pain, inflammation, and weakness may stop you from doing everyday tasks, like laundry, sweeping the floor, or mowing the lawn.
It’s important to understand though that in order to be approved, you must also show that your lupus would prevent you from working in an office or other primarily sedentary job. To support this argument, the SSA must see that you experience problems with completing tasks in a timely manner, processing thoughts or other information, or that you have other cognitive or physical symptoms that would keep you from working at all, in any job whatsoever.
- Document Medication Side Effects: Common prescriptions include corticosteroids, antimalarial drugs, and other autoimmune suppression medications, like Acthar and Benlysta. These medications may cause drowsiness, or the inability to think clearly, concentrate, or remember things.
- Test results or lab work reports, showing diagnosis of common complications, like kidney or heart disease, bone loss, seizures, anemia, etc.
- Have Your Doctor Fill Out a Lupus Functional Capacity Form (RFC): At Ellis & Associates we take a substantial amount of time studying your medical record and creating a checklist form (called a “functional capacity” form) that translates medical findings into work limitations. We know which vocational factors carry the most weight with Judges in a particular hearing office. You will need to give this form to your doctor. Most caring physicians will agree to spend ten or fifteen minutes to complete a form that can dramatically better your life. If your doctor refuses to cooperate, you may want to think about finding a more cooperative doctor.