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SSDI Evaluation

Skin Disorders and Social Security Disability Insurance

 
 Skin Disorders SSDI GuidelinesHere is an explanation of Social Security's five-step process to determine if a patient with a skin disorder qualifies for SSDI:
 
  1. Determine if an individual is "working (engaging in substantial gainful activity)" according to the SSA definition. Earning more than $1,040 a month as an employee is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits.
  2.  
  3. Conclude the skin disorder disability must be severe enough to significantly limit one's ability to perform basic work activities needed to do most jobs. For example:
 
  • Walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling
  • Seeing, hearing and speaking
  • Understanding/carrying out and remembering simple instructions
  • Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations
  • Dealing with changes in a routine work setting
 
  1. Skin disorders are evaluated under the impairment criteria for Disorders of the Skin - Medical Listing 8.01. Severity assessments of skin disorders are based on the extent of skin lesions, the frequency of flare-ups of the skin lesions, how symptoms (including pain) contribute to the severity, the extent of treatment and the effects of treatment. The following criteria have been established indicative of the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity, i.e., if one has a diagnosis of skin disorders and one of the following, a finding of disabled under the Social Security Act is warranted:
 
  • Ichthyosis, with extensive skin lesions that persist for at least three months despite continuing treatment as prescribed.
  • Bullous disease (for example, pemphigus, erythema multiforme bullosum, epidermolysis bullosa, bullous pemphigoid, dermatitis herpetiformis), with extensive skin lesions that persist for at least three months despite continuing treatment as prescribed.
  • Chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes, with extensive fungating or extensive ulcerating skin lesions that persist for at least three months despite continuing treatment as prescribed.
  • Dermatitis (for example, psoriasis, dyshidrosis, atopic dermatitis, exfoliative dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis), with extensive skin lesions that persist for at least three months despite continuing treatment as prescribed.
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa,with extensive skin lesions involving both axillae, both inguinal areas or the perineum that persist for at least three months despite continuing treatment as prescribed.
  • Genetic photosensitivity disorders other than Xeroderma Pigmentosum, with extensive skin lesions that have lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or the inability to function outside of a highly protective environment for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
  • Electrical, chemical or thermal burns not affecting other body systems, with extensive skin lesions that have lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
 
  1. Explore the ability of an individual to perform work they have done in the past despite their skin disorder. If the SSA finds that a person can do his or her past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step.
  2.  
  3. Review age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. To determine skin disorders disability, the SSA enlists medical-vocational rules, which vary according to age.
 
For example, if a person is:
 
 Under age 50 and, as a result of the symptoms of a skin disorder, unable to perform what the SSA calls sedentary work, then the SSA will reach a determination of disabled. Sedentary work requires the ability to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at a time, sit six hours and occasionally walk and stand two hours per eight-hour day.
 
 Age 50 or older and, due to a skin disorder, limited to performing sedentary work, but has no work-related skills that allow the person to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
 
 Age 55 or older and, due to the disability, limited to performing light work, but has no work-related skills that allow the person to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
 
 Over age 60 and, due to skin disorders, unable to perform any of the jobs he or she performed in the last 15 years, the SSA likely will reach a determination of disabled.
 
 Any age and, because of a skin disorder, has a psychological impairment that prevents even simple, unskilled work, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
 

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