June is Scleroderma Awareness Month, a month when groups across the country raise awareness of this potentially debilitating disease, also called systemic sclerosis. It is also a good time to discuss applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) if you have scleroderma.
What Is Scleroderma?
Scleroderma is an autoimmune rheumatic disease whose severity of symptoms varies depending on the individual. In some cases, the disease will only affect a person’s hands and face (this is called localized scleroderma) while in others, it can move to the organs (this is called systemic scleroderma) and even cause death through scarring of the lungs.
- Hair loss
- Hardening of the skin
- Changes in skin tone and tightness
- White bumps under the skin
- Fingertip and toe sores
- Joint pain and numbness
- Breathing problems
- Lung scarring
- Bloating and other digestive tract problems
Scleroderma and SSD
Scleroderma is one of many diseases and disorders listed in the Social Security Disability Listing of Impairments (also called the Blue Book). If your Scleroderma matches the description of the disease in the Blue Book, you may qualify for SSDI benefits.
In order to meet the description in the Listing of Impairments, your scleroderma must:
- Affect two or more parts of your body
- Cause at least two severe symptoms
- Severely affect at least one part of your body
- Significantly impact your daily ability to function
Even if your scleroderma does not fall under the SSD Listing of Impairments, you may still qualify for SSD if it is part of a combination of impairments that make it impossible for you to continue your job for at least one year. To learn more about these and other requirements, speak with an experienced SSD lawyer.
Source: A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, “Scleroderma,” February 2, 2012.