Social Security’s rules recognize a wide variety of immune system disorders (also known as autoimmune disorders). Immune system disorders are included in the Listing of Impairments under section 14.00. Many disorders of the immune system, if severe enough, may qualify for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration. These conditions include:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated ongoing disease in which your brain and certain systems of the body suffer from physical and mental exhaustion. It goes by many other names including immune dysfunction syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis, post-viral fatigue syndrome, and low natural killer cell disease. Under any name, the disorder is characterized by a strong and persistent feeling of fatigue. It is a technically rare disease, as fatigue is usually a symptom accompanied by another illness.
Aids or HIV Infection
Many individuals with HIV infection have a condition that prevents them from being able to work. If their impairment(s) meets the duration requirement, they may be found disabled. On the other hand, individuals with HIV infection who are asymptomatic, or who have less severe HIV manifestations, may be found not disabled. Therefore, Social Security evaluates each case on an individual basis and relies on the signs, symptoms, laboratory findings, and other information unique to that person’s case in order to make a decision.
The typical manifestations of Lyme disease include fever, cold spells, migraines, sore muscles, a rigid neck, and generalized itching. One might observe a unique “bull’s eye” or “butterfly” rash at the site of the tick bite, which can expand to become considerably large. These indicators represent localized Lyme disease. If these initial signs are left unaddressed, the disease can progress to its second phase, known as disseminated Lyme. Here, the bacteria begin to disperse throughout the body, persisting for several weeks and possibly leading to muscle paralysis or inflammation. The third phase, termed late disseminated Lyme, is characterized by the bacteria’s widespread presence in the body, leading to prolonged periods of intense muscle discomfort and frailty.
Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that typically leads to hyperthyroidism or overactivity of the thyroid gland. It is caused by an abnormal immune system response that causes the thyroid gland to produce too many thyroid hormones. Graves disease is most common in women over age 20. However, the disorder may occur at any age and may affect men as well.
Connective Tissue Disorder
The term connective tissue disorder refers to any condition in which the connective tissues of the body undergo any harm or damage. These connective tissues are found throughout the body and are what support, bind together, and protect the vital organs. The tissues are made of two major structural protein molecules, namely collagen, and elastin. A connective tissue disorder will cause an inflammation of the tissue that damages the elastin, which allows the ligaments that attach bones together to stretch and act as springs for easy bodily movement.
The most common forms of connective tissue disorder are divided into the groups heritable and autoimmune. Heritable disorders include Marfan syndrome, a genetic disease that causes abnormal growth of elastin, and Stickler syndrome, which affects collagen and often results in loss of vision and hearing. Another example is osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, which causes low production of collagen, which is necessary for producing healthy bones.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is a disease in which the immune system essentially attacks itself, causing inflammation and damage to the body’s cells and tissues. This type of self-attack is called a systemic autoimmune disease. With lupus, there is an extra danger of antibody-immune complexes reacting violently and causing additional damage. This is called Type III hypersensitivity.
The heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system are all common targets of lupus. The effects of the disease can be unpredictable, often occurring in periods that alternate with normal health. Symptoms of lupus can be widely varied and difficult to diagnose.
The disease is sometimes referred to as the “great imitator” because its victims’ complaints are of signs usually recognized as symptoms of other diseases. Chronic lapses of fever, fatigue, joint pain, and malaise are typical signs, as is a temporary loss of cognitive function. Other possible signs include headaches, blood clots, chest pain, mouth ulcers, and urinary difficulty.
Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized as an autoimmune disorder that can manifest in multiple body organs simultaneously, leading the body to mistakenly target its own tissues. This primarily results in joint inflammation, but other areas like the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood, and nerves can also be affected. While it predominantly affects middle-aged females, it’s not exclusive to them. Children and the elderly can also be diagnosed, and when men are affected, they tend to experience more severe symptoms.
Notably, this ailment exhibits symmetry; when one joint shows symptoms, its corresponding joint on the other side of the body is likely to be affected too. This symmetric nature sets it apart from other types of arthritis.
Individuals diagnosed with this condition may endure symptoms like exhaustion, anemia, persistent pain, and inflammation. The duration of these symptoms can vary from short bouts to prolonged episodes. Some might experience symptom-free periods known as remissions. Nevertheless, rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t usually go away entirely.
Vasculitis is a result of inflamed blood vessels. This inflammation can lead to the swelling of vessels responsible for transporting blood from the heart to various parts of the body, impeding the efficient circulation and production of oxygen. Various forms of vasculitis exist, such as systemic vasculitis, Buerger’s disease, and EGPA (Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis).
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If you cannot work due to an immune system disorder and are seeking assistance with your Social Security Disability claim, then you have come to the right place. Ortiz Law Firm represents Social Security Disability claimants nationwide. Call us at (888) 321-8131 to get answers to your questions.