At John Foy & Associates, we have more than 20 years of experience helping clients navigate the complex SSDI system. We have seen successful cases where claims have been approved involving lupus. And we dedicate our entire practice to helping injured, sick and disabled individuals get the help they need.
Let us help you. When you call our firm, we’ll sit down with you for a free consultation to discuss your SSDI application and how to get you approved. In many cases we can take one look at your paperwork and see what you need to make a stronger case.
Is Lupus Considered a Valid Disability for SSDI in Atlanta?
Yes it is. When evaluating SSDI claims, the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a special guide known as the List of Impairments. This is a comprehensive document showing all medical conditions that are known to cause disabilities.
An illness does not have to be in the list to qualify for SSDI, but it makes the process much easier. Lupus is listed in section 14.02 under Immune System Disorders, which means people with lupus are specifically included by the SSA, making your application stronger than people whose conditions might not be in the listing.
Just because you have lupus, however, does not mean that you can automatically get approved. The SSA will want more information on your diagnosis and the extent of your disability. This is where most applications go wrong – they do not provide enough paperwork to document everything the SSA needs.
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Is It Worth Hiring a Lawyer for My Lupus SSDI Claim?
If you are having any trouble with your SSDI application, yes, there’s a good chance that it’s worth hiring a lawyer. Having legal help makes it much easier to gather the materials you need for a successful claim, and lupus attorneys in Atlanta know how to handle every step in the process. If your claim has been denied, then it’s definitely worth it to get a lawyer on your side.
Without the help of a lawyer, your next application or your appeal will be very difficult. An attorney will give you the expert eye and the negotiation skills that could make the difference between getting benefits and getting a denial. One of the things that makes hiring an Atlanta Social Security disability lawyer worth it is the fact that we don’t take any fees upfront.
Our Atlanta lupus attorneys take contingency fees, which means they only get paid if you have a successful claim. That way, there’s no risk of shelling out for an expensive lawyer who won’t get you results. If you’re not sure whether your application needs the help of a lawyer, you can always get a free consultation to talk about it with a member of our team to talk about it.
Why Does the SSA Want so Much Information About My Lupus Diagnosis?
Lupus is a valid medical condition, but it’s not well understood. Medical doctors do not agree on what causes lupus, so the condition remains something of a mystery. Additionally, the exact symptoms that lupus causes can vary substantially from one individual to another. Symptoms can include any of the following:
- Swelling and/or pain in different areas of the body
- Tissue damage
- Skin rashes or light sensitivity
- Depression and/ or anxiety
- Memory loss
- A dramatic change in weight
- Hair loss
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Kidney damage or declined kidney function
For many individuals, the pain and fatigue alone are enough to prevent them from working on a regular basis, even if the more severe symptoms are not present. But the wide variety of symptoms that lupus can present means it is difficult for doctors to diagnose. The SSA needs to know that you have a valid diagnosis from a doctor, and they will want additional information as well, such as documentation that other possible causes of your symptoms were ruled out.
We can help you provide this both by pulling the right documents from your existing medical history and also by getting you a doctor’s opinion that clearly states which other causes were ruled out and why.
How Do I Prove that Lupus Is Preventing Me from Working?
Just having a valid lupus diagnosis does not mean you qualify for SSDI benefits. You have to prove that your particular case of lupus is so severe that you cannot work a full-time, steady job. The SSA needs evidence to prove this, because not all lupus cases are this severe. Examples of proof you can provide include:
- Documentation of severe symptoms
- Documentation of being hospitalized multiple times (for your lupus symptoms) in a 12-month period
- A doctor’s opinion, and statements from family and friends, describing the extent of your disability
- A special medical assessment known as a functional capacity evaluation
Of these, the functional capacity evaluation is the strongest. It’s a test designed to directly measure your ability to carry out basic, daily tasks. When you perform the evaluation, a doctor will assess how well you can stand, walk, and use your hands.
They will also evaluate mental factors such as concentration, memory, and ability to work with others. The result is a snapshot showing all limitations on your ability to work.
Many doctors are not familiar with functional capacity tests or the SSDI process. We can help you see a doctor who performs these tests regularly and get you the documentation you need.
How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for Disability if You Have Lupus?
Every lupus patient is different, and that means no two SSDI claims will be handled the same. Because of that, how long it takes to approve your SSDI claim will differ from how long it takes others. In general, the average decision period is between three and five months, but your application may take less or more time to approve.
When your application is approved, you will most likely get your first check on the following month. When you get your first check, you may also receive past-due benefits that you’re owed for the period between your application and your acceptance date.
One way to speed up the decision process is to have a strong, clear application. To do that, you can hire a lupus lawyer in Atlanta to handle your claim. With experienced legal help, the whole process becomes easier and quicker.
What Are Some Reasons My Lupus SSDI Claim Could Be Turned Down in Atlanta?
There are several reasons your claim could be denied, including:
- Not following doctor’s orders. Many doctors will recommend lifestyle changes, medication, or both to treat lupus, and if you have not followed a treatment, the SSA will generally turn down your application. We can help you either document following the treatment or see a doctor who will recommend a treatment that’s a better fit for your situation.
- Still working. You are allowed to work part-time and still request SSDI benefits, but in many cases, the SSA will consider it a factor in turning down your claim. We do not recommend you quit your part-time job, but we can help you better document the limits on your work capacity so you can prove you still need benefits.
- No functional capacity test. Without a functional capacity evaluation, you are essentially asking the SSA to take you at your word that you can’t work. We can help you get this crucial document to prove your case.
Far and away the most common reason we see for a rejected claim is a simple paperwork error. Often, the applicant does have a severe set of lupus symptoms and really needs SSDI benefits – they simply cannot prove it on paper. A good SSDI lawyer will know how to get you the paper trail you need to show you’re a deserving applicant.
At John Foy & Associates, we also routinely work with individuals who have already had their SSDI claim denied. We can appeal your claim for you. We find that applications have a much higher success rate on appeal.
Talk to an Atlanta Lupus Attorney for Free
The SSDI process is slow and cumbersome, often at a time when you need immediate relief. Let us help you make the strongest claim possible. The Atlanta lupus lawyers at John Foy & Associates will give you a free consultation and maximize your chance of being approved.
Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.
404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form