Disability Benefits for Lyme Disease
When you have common symptoms like fever, headache and fatigue, you could have a lot of different illnesses. This is one reason it can be such a challenge to deal with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection you get from the bite of a blacklegged tick.
Those everyday symptoms are top signs for Lyme disease. That can make it difficult to diagnose and tricky when you’re applying for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) leaves Lyme disease off its list of official impairments that qualify you for benefits. But don’t let this stop you from applying.
The effects of Lyme disease can become much more severe than those initial symptoms. Taken together, if those effects stop you from working, you can win disability benefits.
What Happens if You Get Lyme Disease
People who get Lyme disease often feel run down and experience joint pain.
Sometimes their doctors figure it out because they’ve recently traveled someplace known for ticks that spread the disease.
About 70 to 80 percent of the time, the disease causes a bullseye shaped rash that makes it much clearer to identify, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If Lyme disease reaches more advanced stages, it can lead to arthritis, facial paralysis, nerve pain and other severe impairments. And the effects of Lyme disease can stay with you for a long time.
The disease can seriously hinder your ability to function in your job.
How Lyme Disease Fits with Social Security Disability
But because the SSA doesn’t consider Lyme disease an official impairment, how do you win Social Security Disability benefits for it?
It’s all about how you break down the effects Lyme disease has on you. You can benefit from having an experienced lawyer help you make this case.
Social Security looks at what it calls your “residual functional capacity.” This is a measure of the most you can do despite various limitations, such as limitations that could be brought on by Lyme disease.
The SSA considers multiple impairments you might have because of Lyme disease.
Depending on your symptoms, you could have impairments that are included on the SSA’s official list, called its “blue book,” such as musculoskeletal disorders, heart problems and mental health problems.
Those impairments, and combinations of them, can qualify you for disability benefits.
What You Need to Apply for Disability with Lyme Disease
Having detailed medical records from your doctors is particularly important in cases such as Lyme disease.
This will document the ways your condition makes it impossible for you to work, including your ability to grip and carry things and your ability to concentrate.
Making sure your records are properly presented is another reason to hire a lawyer to handle your case.
The SSA will consider whether your condition prevents you from doing your previous job, and whether it prevents you from doing a different job that your background qualifies you to do.
As in all disability cases, you have to show that your health problems will stop you from working for at least a year, or result in death.
If the effects of Lyme disease are keeping you from working and you need financial relief, contact James Trauring and Associates right away to talk about your case.