It is estimated that there are more than 300,000 cases of Lyme disease each year and that number is rising all the time. Lyme disease has a complex set of symptoms that can become disabling. If you have Lyme disease and your symptoms significantly limit your ability to work you may file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits. Disability benefits provide money that can be used for housing, food, and living expenses while you cannot work. There are several requirements that you must meet to file a claim for disability benefits 1) the symptoms of Lyme disease must keep you from working for at least a year and 2) you must have been credited with sufficient Social Security quarterly credits at the time of application, and 3) you will must present medical documentation confirming your disease diagnoses, its severity and how it fully prevents you from working and certifies that you medically qualify for disability.
Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits Due to Lyme Disease
All of the conditions that qualify for disability benefits are listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. Determination of disability is made by reviewers at the Social Security Administration once all application materials and supportive medical documentation has been received and reviewed. There is no SSA-Blue Book listing for Lyme disease.
To medically qualify for disability benefits under a Lyme disease diagnosis, you will need to meet the Blue Book for another condition that is listed. The symptoms of Lyme can be considered disabling on their own and some of them are listed in the Blue Book. You may qualify for disability benefits due to Lyme disease if your symptoms fall into one of these Blue Book categories:
- Section 1.00 (Musculoskeletal System) – This applies if you have significant mobility limitations.
- Section 4.00 (Cardiovascular System) – This applies if you have suffered heart damage or developed heart disease from Lyme disease.
- Section 12.00 (Mental Disorders) – This applies if you have anxiety or cognitive issues from Lyme disease.
- Section 14.09 (Inflammatory Arthritis) – This applies if you have arthritis in the knees or other weight-bearing joints that limits your mobility to a level that is consider disabled. makes it and it’s severe.
Medical records, tests results, treatment plans, and other medical documentation are necessary to support your claim for disability benefits. Your doctor needs to carefully prepare records and letters that will support your disability claim.
Medical Vocational Allowance
If you cannot work because of Lyme disease but your symptoms do not match any Blue Book listing, there is a way you may still qualify for disability benefits. File a claim for benefits and check the box on the application asking for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation. The RFC evaluation is done by the SSA and will determine if there is any type of work that you can reasonably be expected to do with your symptoms. If the RFC finds that there is no work that you can reasonably do, your claim for disability benefits most likely will be positively reviewed as a Medical Vocational Allowance.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
You can apply for disability benefits online, but if you are going to ask for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation you might want to apply in person and get help with the application from a staff member to make sure your request is processed properly. Find your local SSA office and make an appointment to file a claim. Do not forget to bring copies of all of your medical, mental health and adjunct treatment documents with you. The process can be time consuming and quite detailed, but the end resutlts can be most advantageous.
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