Can You Get Disability for Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)?

April 2, 2024

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Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) can be considered a disability if the symptoms are severe enough to keep you out of work for twelve months or longer. Living with HS can be incredibly challenging, both physically and emotionally, as this chronic skin condition causes painful lumps, abscesses, and scarring, which can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. If you have severe HS that limits your ability to work, you may be wondering if you qualify for disability benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the eligibility criteria for disability benefits with HS, the importance of medical documentation, and additional resources and support available.

Understanding Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Before we dive into disability benefits, let’s briefly discuss what HS is and how it affects the body. HS is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes painful, recurrent lumps and abscesses, typically in areas where skin rubs together, such as the armpits, groin, and under the breasts. These lumps can rupture, leading to scarring and tunnels under the skin called sinus tracts. HS symptoms can range from mild to severe and can significantly impact a person’s ability to perform daily activities, including work.

Mirai Doctor provides comprehensive information on HS symptoms, stages, and treatment options.

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Eligibility for Disability Benefits with HS

Takeaway: HS may qualify for disability benefits, but severity is key.

If you have severe HS that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA has specific criteria for determining disability, which includes assessing the severity of your condition and how it limits your ability to work.

To qualify for disability benefits with HS, your condition must be severe enough to significantly limit your ability to perform basic work activities, such as:

  • Standing or sitting for extended periods
  • Lifting, carrying, or reaching
  • Concentrating or completing tasks due to pain or fatigue

Your HS must also be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.

Mirai Doctor offers insights into the impact of HS on daily life and work.

Examples of Work Limitations Due to HS

Here are some examples of how HS can limit a person’s ability to work:

  • Pain and fatigue: HS can cause significant pain and fatigue, making it difficult to concentrate or complete tasks.
  • Difficulty standing or sitting: HS lumps and abscesses can make it painful to sit or stand for long periods, which may be required for certain jobs.
  • Limitations on lifting, carrying, or reaching: HS in the armpits or groin can limit a person’s ability to lift, carry, or reach, which may be essential for some occupations.

The Importance of Medical Documentation

To prove your eligibility for disability benefits with HS, you’ll need strong medical documentation. This includes:

  • Doctor’s notes detailing your HS diagnosis, severity, and how it limits your ability to work
  • Evidence of ongoing treatment, such as medications, surgeries, or wound care
  • Records of hospitalizations or emergency room visits related to HS

Your medical documentation should paint a clear picture of how HS affects your daily life and work capacity. Be sure to keep detailed records and communicate openly with your healthcare providers about your symptoms and limitations.

Mirai Doctor stresses the importance of working closely with your healthcare team to manage HS.

The Role of Functional Capacity Evaluations

In some cases, the SSA may request a functional capacity evaluation to assess your ability to perform work-related tasks. This evaluation is conducted by a medical professional, such as a physical therapist or occupational therapist, and may include:

  • Physical tests to measure strength, endurance, and range of motion
  • Cognitive tests to assess concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills
  • Simulated work tasks to evaluate your ability to perform specific job duties

The results of your functional capacity evaluation will be used to determine if you meet the SSA’s criteria for disability.

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Appealing a Denied Disability Claim

If your initial disability claim is denied, don’t give up hope. You have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process can be complex, so it’s essential to seek guidance from an experienced disability lawyer or advocate. They can help you gather additional evidence, prepare for hearings, and navigate the legal system.

Remember, many disability claims are denied initially, but a significant number are approved upon appeal. Persistence and strong medical documentation are key.

Mirai Doctor encourages individuals with HS to advocate for themselves and explore all available options.

Additional Resources and Support

Living with HS can be isolating, but you don’t have to face it alone. There are many resources and support systems available, including:

  • Non-profit organizations focused on HS, such as the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation
  • Support groups, both online and in-person, where you can connect with others who understand your experiences
  • Mental health professionals who can help you cope with the emotional impact of HS
  • Patient advocates who can guide you through the healthcare and disability benefits systems

Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it. A strong support network can make a significant difference in your quality of life.

Mirai Doctor provides a list of valuable resources and support for individuals with HS.

5 FAQs About Disability Benefits and HS

What are the specific SSA criteria for HS disability?

The SSA evaluates HS under the listing for “Dermatitis,” which requires:

  • Extensive skin lesions that persist for at least 3 months despite treatment
  • Lesions that seriously limit your ability to perform work-related activities

Besides medical records, what evidence can help my claim?

  • Other evidence that can support your disability claim includes:
  • A detailed symptom diary
  • Statements from family, friends, or coworkers about your limitations
  • Vocational evaluations or job performance reviews

How long does the disability application process take?

The disability application process can take several months to a year or more, depending on the complexity of your case and if you need to appeal a denial. Be prepared for a lengthy process and don’t hesitate to seek help from a disability lawyer or advocate.

Can I still work part-time and receive disability benefits?

Yes, you may be able to work part-time and still receive disability benefits, as long as your earnings don’t exceed the SSA’s “substantial gainful activity” limit. In 2023, this limit is $1,470 per month for non-blind individuals.

Are there other financial assistance programs available for HS?

Yes, there are other financial assistance programs that may help with the costs of living with HS, such as:

  • Medicaid or Medicare
  • Prescription assistance programs
  • Grants or scholarships for medical expenses
  • Crowdfunding platforms

Mirai Doctor offers a comprehensive guide to financial assistance options for individuals with chronic conditions like HS.

Conclusion: Managing HS and Exploring Benefits

Living with hidradenitis suppurativa can be incredibly challenging, but there are resources and support systems available to help you manage your condition and maintain your quality of life. If your HS is severe enough to limit your ability to work, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

To increase your chances of being approved for disability, it’s crucial to have strong medical documentation and to work closely with your healthcare providers to manage your symptoms. If your initial claim is denied, don’t give up – consider appealing the decision with the help of a disability lawyer or advocate.

Remember, HS doesn’t define you. With the right support and resources, you can still live a fulfilling life. Advocate for yourself, explore all available options, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it.

Mirai Doctor is committed to providing comprehensive information and support for individuals with HS, empowering them to take control of their health and well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) can qualify for disability benefits if it severely limits your ability to work.
  • Strong medical documentation is essential for proving your eligibility for disability benefits.
  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) has specific criteria for evaluating disability claims, including the severity of your condition and its impact on your work capacity.
  • If your initial disability claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision with the help of a disability lawyer or advocate.
  • There are many resources and support systems available for individuals with HS, including non-profit organizations, support groups, and financial assistance programs.
  • Don’t let HS define you – with the right support, you can still lead a fulfilling life.
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