Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes

Qualifying for Disability Benefits with Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes in Chicago, IL

Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) is not just one disorder, but a whole group of impairments currently classified into13 subtypes. What the subtypes have in common is that they are connective tissue disorders which are often inherited. Generally, EDS is characterized by fragile tissue, and joints and skin that can be stretched further than normal. Ehlers-Danlos syndromes affect both men and women of all ages and all ethnic backgrounds.

While there is no cure for EDS, there is treatment for its symptoms, and there are preventative measures that bring relief to some who are affected by the disease. For others, however, their EDS causes joint pain, back pain, heart problems, loss of vision, or other issues which don’t respond to treatment and are so severe that they affect their everyday life and prevent them from working. If you have EDS and are unable to work because of severe symptoms from it, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

There are two basic paths to qualifying for disability benefits. The first is to match the medical criteria in the “Blue Book,” the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of disabling conditions. If an individual’s symptoms match the requirements in the listings, they will likely qualify for disability payments. Like many rare genetic disorders, there is not a Blue Book listing specifically for Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. However, you may still qualify for benefits if you can match the criteria in a listing which matches symptoms associated with your EDS. For example, if tissues in your heart or blood vessels have been damaged by Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, you may qualify under section 4.00—Cardiovascular System disorders. Here are some of the other possible listings that may be met by those suffering from EDS:

  • Listing 1.02 – Major dysfunction of a joint (due to any cause)
  • Listing 2.02 / 2.04 – Vision loss
  • Listing 5.02 – Gastrointestinal bleeding requiring a blood transfusion, and
  • Listing 8.04 – Chronic infections of the skin.

Very few people who apply for Social Security disability benefits meet the strict requirements of the Blue Book listings, but there is a second way to qualify—by proving that you are unable to perform any work due to a condition (or conditions) caused by your EDS symptoms, given your age, education, and past work experience.

It is useful to keep in mind that it is not the diagnosis of a disease or even the presence of a disease’s symptoms that qualifies you for disability benefits. It is far more important to conclusively demonstrate how much you are limited by your impairment rather than to emphasize the diagnosis itself. The Social Security Administration will evaluate your “residual functional capacity” (RFC)—an assessment of what you can still do despite your medical impairments. (For more on RFCs, click here.) To qualify for benefits, you must demonstrate that your symptoms prevent you from sustaining full-time, competitive employment on a consistent and reliable basis. The medical condition must be expected to last and keep you out of work for at least 12 consecutive months.

If are unable to work because of EDS, call or email the Chicago Social Security Lawyers at Nash Disability Law today for a free consultation. (To learn the advantages of a local disability lawyer, click here.)