Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is the name of a group of genetic disorders affecting roughly 1 in every 5,000 people globally.
Symptoms can include stretchy skin and hypermobility of joints, resulting in joint pain and frequent dislocations. Abnormal scarring is another common symptom. Signs of the disorder usually shows up in childhood.
The condition can also cause heart problems, osteoarthritis, and scoliosis. Due to the chronic pain associated with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, it’s not uncommon for the disease to be misdiagnosed, even if symptoms are spotted at an early age.
While the Social Security Administration has “listings” that can automatically qualify a claimant for disability benefits, there is no specific listing for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
At a hearing, a medical expert may testify that a claimant with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome equals a musculoskeletal or cardiovascular listing, but few judges have medical experts testify at hearings nowadays.
More than likely, an individual with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome will have to convince an administrative law judge that they are disabled.
The good news is that applications by individuals with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome are common enough that the majority of Social Security judges and attorneys are familiar with the condition.
The bad news is that those suffering from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome have the same burden of proving they are disabled as every other claimant.
That means that disability applicants under age 50 must show through medical treatment and testimony that they cannot perform any work activity. Testimony about pain and the limitations caused by the disorder can be especially persuasive in these cases.
The Social Security Administration makes it easier for claimants over 50 to be approved for disability, however. This means that applicants who can show their Ehlers-Danlos syndrome would limit them to at best unskilled sedentary work can still be found disabled under Social Security’s grid rules.
An experienced Social Security disability attorney can explain more about applying for disability with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.