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Monday, June 10, 2013

Social Security with Lyme Disease/Related Disability

One of the biggest questions many Lyme sufferers or people with coinfections have is what to do now that they can't work, or haven't been working. I have not been able to answer much of these questions, or give further information. Recently someone emailed be an article to help give insight on what help is out there, and how to go about receiving that help, as posted below:

"Applying for Disability Benefits with Lyme Disease
Although Lyme disease can be quite debilitating, its affects on each patient are different. Additionally, because the symptoms of the condition can be quite pronounced at times, and go into relatively long periods of remission, it can be challenging to receive qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) for this condition.
Though difficult, it is possible to prove disability and get the benefits you need, if your Lyme disease is so severe that it prevents gainful employment for a period of 12 months or more or is expected to do so, given the extent and type of symptoms you experience.
SSA Disability Programs
The SSA has two disability programs for which you can potentially qualify with Lyme disease. The first, SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, is a program designed for disabled workers. SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is the second program, and it is a need-based benefits program designed to provide benefits to disabled workers and/or their dependents.
Basic Eligibility
To be eligible for SSDI and/or SSI, you must meet the basic medical requirements for proving disability. These include:
  • Having a medical condition that can be substantiated through standard medical means, meaning it must be proven with significant medical documentation and that documentation must satisfy the SSA’s evidence requirements.

  • Suffering from a disability that has been, or is reasonably expected to be, present for at least 12 months or which is terminal.

  • Your condition must prevent you from maintaining gainful employment in any job for which you would otherwise be qualified.
The previously listed basic eligibility requirements satisfy the medical portion of eligibility for SSDI and SSI; however, each program also has technical eligibility requirements.

Qualifying with Lyme Disease
To meet the SSA’s medical eligibility requirements, you must fully document the affects of your Lyme disease on your ability to work and your everyday abilities to complete tasks in your personal life as well. While the SSA has no dedicated listing for the condition under which you can qualify, there are multiple listings in the SSA’s Blue Book ( that may be applicable to your claim. This is because Lyme disease can have severe affects on multiple body systems.
To qualify with this condition, you must:
·         match a listed condition in terms of severity level
·         document that your residual functional capacity (RFC) is so limited that you qualify under a medical vocational allowance (MVA)
The following conditions may be ones that your Lyme disease application can match, provided you have the appropriate medical documentation to satisfy the SSA’s evidence requirements:
·         Musculoskeletal System – Section 1.00
·         Cardiovascular System – Section 4.00
·         Mental Disorders – Section 12.00
·         Inflammatory Arthritis – Section 14.09
It is also important to note that the SSA will take all of your symptoms under consideration when determining if you meet the eligibility requirements for receiving Social Security Disability (SSD). In other words, if your symptoms fall under more than one of these listings, the SSA will consider the medical evidence you provide in comparison to multiple listings.
Starting Your Application and Getting Help with Your Claim
If you are ready to begin your application, you have two options for getting started:
  • visit the SSA’s website, to start your application immediately,
  • contact your local SSA office, to schedule an in person interview during which your application will be completed.
While it is possible to receive disability benefits for Lyme disease, it can take a long time for your application to be approved. You may have to go through more than just one round of reviews before the SSA finds you eligible, and you may also have to appear at an appeal hearing, if your claim is denied more than once.
Seeking the help of a Social Security Disability advocate or attorney before filing your claim is advisable with Lyme disease. However, an advocate or lawyer can assist you at any stage in the application and review processes as well, and can potentially increase your chances of being approved for benefits."

Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help

Hopefully that helped somewhat, though it is a mindful to read. I put this out there as a reference for many people starting to navigate the hoops of this illness and survive even when the going has gotten rough. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Elaina. You're not sure who gets to read your blog. You may not know that some of them are also going through this difficult condition. It's important that, you get to help these individuals even in other means. Applying for a social security disability gives them the chance to avail some benefits. It might not totally solve their problems, but it surely helps a lot!


  2. Applying for Social Security disability benefits with or without an advocate can be difficult due to how long a claim can take and the high chance of being denied. Statistically, 70% of all SSDI and SSI claims are denied after the initial application. What does this mean for SSD and SSI applicants who are disabled and need help? That they should follow this advice tip: learn everything you can about the approval system to better your chances of winning on appeal, with or without the help of a disability attorney or lawyer.


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