Lupus and Social Security Benefits

Jul 20, 2013 by

Systematic lupus erthymatosus, usually known as just lupus, is a disease of the immune system that causes it to attack the body’s own tissues and organs. Although it can affect many major organs, such as the brain, heart, and lungs, lupus can easily be mistaken for other diseases due to similarities in symptoms. However, in many cases, a characteristic rash that WebMD compares to the wings of a butterfly develops across the face.

Severe lupus can be debilitating and prevent a person from being able to work, qualifying these people for Social Security benefits. More specifically, to qualify for benefits due to lupus, the disease must, as described by Disabilitysecrets.com:

  • Affect at least two body systems or organs
  • Cause at least two of these symptoms: frequent exhaustion, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss
  • OR, the repeating symptoms of lupus must cause two of the aforementioned symptoms, resulting in: limitations of activities of daily living, limitations in maintaining social functioning, limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner, or limitations in ability to function “independently, appropriately, and effectively”

There are a few other conditions based on the situation, but these are the basic requirements. A candidate can apply for benefits in several ways, including completing an online application, scheduling an office appointment, finding Social Security filing assistance, or by making a walk-in visit to a nearby Social Security office.

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Appealing a Denied SSD Claim in Illinois

Jun 27, 2013 by

Filing a claim for Social Security disability (SSD) in Illinois follows pretty much the same pattern as anywhere else in the US. You can file directly with the nearest Disability Determination Services (DDS) office, of which Illinois has 56 scattered all around the state for convenience. The DDS serves as the local Social Security Administration (SSA) satellite. You can also call the toll-free SSA customer hotline at (800)772-1213 or apply online by visiting www.ssa.gov (note: online applications are only for SSD; you can’t apply online for Supplemental Security Income).

The biggest problem with filing for SSD in Illinois is in the appeals process. Less than 30% of all applications are approved at the initial DDS level. The second step is to appeal the denial by making a Request for Reconsideration. After that the appeal will be elevated to a disability hearing with the administrative law judge (ALJ) and that’s where the biggest hitch occurs. It takes much longer than the national average to get a hearing date, about 575 days on average. Many who file for disability may not even be disabled any longer by the time the hearing date arrives, although this is not a bar to getting retroactive disability benefits if and when the application is approved. It is advisable for an SSD applicant to get professional assistance from a lawyer well-versed in the ins and outs of the SSD application process in Illinois to expedite it.

It should be noted that approval for SSD benefits in Illinois is not dependent on income, but on the extent and duration of a person’s disability as well as Social Security credit standing of the claimant at the time of the disability. An application for SSD will not be approved if the disability is not total (in terms of capacity to engage in the occupation prior to disability) and persist for less than 12 months.

The exception for this rule is when the claimant became disabled as a result of active military duty. The degree of disability for a veteran only has to be a minimum of 10%, and it is possible for an SSD beneficiary to continue getting benefits even if gainful employment is found, although this is not true for all cases.

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