Disability Benefits May be Awarded for Skin Disorders

February 1, 2022

For thousands of Americans, skin disorders cause not only embarrassment and anxiety, but also a great deal of discomfort and pain. In severe cases, skin disorders can even make it impossible for them to work. If you have a skin disorder that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or longer and prevents you from sustaining full-time competitive employment on a consistent and reliable basis, you may be eligible for financial assistance through one of the Social Security Disability programs.

There are two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance, which is known as SSDI, and Supplemental Security Income, commonly referred to as SSI. SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have a disability and you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes recently enough. SSI, on the other hand, is based on financial need. The Social Security Administration (SSA) says, “It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income.” For more on this topic see our blog article Question of the Month: What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

The SSA recognizes certain skin disorders as disabilities that, in some cases, can qualify for disability benefits. To determine if you are medically eligible for disability benefits, Social Security has a set of procedures in place. These procedures are published in a handbook known as the “Blue Book,” and it includes a list of various disabling conditions known as “listings.” The criteria for benefits approval for skin disorders can be found under Listing 8.00.

The kinds of impairments covered by Listing 8.00 include:

  • Ichthyosis
  • Bullous Diseases
  • Chronic Infections of the Skin or Mucous Membranes
  • Dermatitis
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  • Genetic Photosensitivity Disorders
  • Burns

Most often, an applicant’s medical conditions will not precisely meet the Blue Book’s technical requirements to qualify for disability payments. However, there is a second way to qualify. You may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you can prove that, due to the limitations of your condition, you are unable to perform any job in the national economy, considering your age, education, and past work.

To qualify, you must demonstrate that the symptoms of your impairment prevent you from sustaining full-time competitive employment on a consistent and reliable basis. All qualifying disabilities must be expected to last and keep you out of work for at least 12 months.

To prove that your skin disorder prevents you from maintaining fulltime employment, it is very important to ask your doctor to explain your medical situation, oftentimes using a form called the “Residual Functional Capacity” (RFC) form. The RFC form measures your physical abilities, and it allows your doctor to explain how your medical conditions limit you from working. The Social Security Administration will consider the RFC form along with other medical evidence to decide whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Medical evidence may include:

  • Information about the onset, duration, frequency of flare-ups, and prognosis of your skin disorder;
  • The location, size, and appearance of lesions;
  • And, when applicable, history of exposure to toxins, allergens, or irritants, familial incidence, seasonal variation, stress factors, and your ability to function outside of a highly protective environment.
  • Difficulty with activities such as prolonged sitting, frequent movements, and/or use of your hands due to symptoms of your skin disorders.

To confirm your diagnosis, the SSA may require laboratory findings (for example, results of a biopsy obtained independently of Social Security Disability evaluation or blood tests) or evidence from other medically acceptable methods.

If you have other impairments in addition to a skin disorder, you should also include these in your application for benefits. The Social Security Administration must take into consideration all of your impairments when deciding whether you qualify for disability benefits. For more on this subject read our blog article: Do Multiple Disabilities Improve the Odds of Receiving Benefits?

The path to winning Social Security Disability benefits can be difficult to navigate, especially while living with a serious health condition. For this reason, you want a professional Chicagoland disability attorney in your corner to help you through the process and to fight for your rights. Call or email Nash Disability Law for a free evaluation of your situation. We have offices in Chicago and Palos Hills and we can help you avoid costly disability mistakes.