Skin Conditions and Social Security Disability
Although many perceive skin conditions to be less severe than other conditions, the simple fact is that skin disorders can become severe enough to prevent claimants from performing on the job. Since skin is the largest organ in the human body, conditions affecting the skin can make life very difficult and painful for sufferers. Skin disorders are listed on the Social Security Administration's (SSA) List of Impairments, and the listing cites quite a few conditions that can become debilitating enough for sufferers to apply for Social Security disability benefits. Typically, to apply for benefits, disorders must meet certain standard requirements–most often, the persistence of skin lesions over a period of three months, despite treatment. Listed disorders include: • Ichthyosis • Bullous Disease • Chronic skin infections/chronic mucous membrane infections • Dermatitis • Hidradenitis suppurativa • Xeroderma pigmentosum (or other genetic photosensitivity disorders) • Burns The SSA assesses each skin condition based on a variety of factors, all of which contribute to the ability (or inability) of a claimant to perform any type of work. • Severity/Extent of skin lesions – Severity can be determined by the amount of lesions across the body and their location. Lesions on the hands, joints, or feet that impair motor skills, ambulation, or limb movement may be considered severe. • Frequency of flare-ups – Flare-ups are assessed over a 12 month period, focusing on the frequency, length of the flare-up, and how claimants cope during periods of remission. Frequent severe flare-ups that are expected to continue for a period of 12 months may be considered eligible for Social Security disability. • Symptoms – Symptoms, including pain, will be judged when considering whether or not claimants are able to perform any type of continuous work. • Treatment – Since many skin disorders respond to treatment, this will be a factor in judging a claimant's disability. SSA claim reviewers will consider the current or expected treatment, as well as any limitations that side-effects from that treatment may incite. If your skin condition has impacted your ability to hold down gainful employment, contact a disability attorney to determine if you are eligible to apply for Social Security disability benefits.