Severe skin conditions are not only painful, but workers may also find it is difficult to perform full-time work with their condition. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is offered to claimants who have a mental or physical health condition which will last 12 continuous months and does not allow them to perform substantial gainful activity. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, If I have a chronic skin condition and cannot work can I receive SSDI benefits?
Common Skin Conditions and SSDI benefits
The SSA considers several skin conditions and disorders severe enough to be considered disabling. Regardless of whether or not your condition is hereditary, congenital, or acquired, the SSA will evaluate the existence and severity of your skin disorder, the type of disorder, the size, the appearance of lesions, the location, and the laboratory findings of your condition to determine whether it is disabling. Common conditions which the SSA has determined may be disabling include the following:
Chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes
As mentioned above, when the SSA reviews your medical evidence regarding your skin condition they will try to determine the extent of your condition and whether or not it is so severe you cannot work. For instance, they will determine whether your skin condition makes it difficult for you to move or whether you have sufficient dexterity in your hands to complete fine motor movements.
The SSA will also review how frequently your condition occurs and whether the flare-ups are common enough that they impair your ability to maintain employment. Finally, the SSA will expect that you have received proper treatment for your condition, and your condition is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months.
I have not seen a doctor can I get SSDI benefits for my skin condition?
The SSA will expect that if you have a severe skin condition that you are currently under the care of a doctor and following your doctors treatment options. Although it is not unusual for claimants not to be able to afford medical treatment, especially if they are unable to work, if you are not receiving proper medical treatment the SSA will likely deny your claim, arguing that if you were receiving proper medical treatment your condition might improve and you might be able to return to work.
Skin Conditions and the SSA Listing of Impairments
The first way to qualify for SSDI benefits is to have a condition which is listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments. Listings for skin disorders can be found in the SSA Listing of Impairments, Section 8.0 Skin Disorders.
To meet this listing your condition must be listed and you must have evidence that your symptoms are as severe as the listing. If your condition is not listed you may be able to prove that your condition meets or exceeds a listing.
If your condition is not listed and you are not sure if it is as severe as a listed condition, talk to a disability lawyer. It may be possible to win SSDI benefits through a medical vocational allowance, but it will be more difficult.