The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability benefits to individuals who have become too disabled to work due to a severe injury or illness. To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must prove that your symptoms significantly limit your ability to work. This process can be rather straightforward or harder based on your condition.
For individuals with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that is transmitted through the bite of a deer tick, being eligible for disability can be challenging. This is largely because its symptoms may mimic other less serious conditions that can be treated through antibiotics and medications.
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with Lyme disease and cannot work, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits. Our team of attorneys is ready to help file a disability claim on your behalf or proceed with an appeal if you have received a denial notice. The initial consultation is 100 percent free and confidential. There is no obligation to hire our firm to represent you.
Zero Upfront Fees. Ph: 1-800-503-2000
How Disabling is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a complex condition with a variety of symptoms that can range in severity from mild to debilitating. Common symptoms of early Lyme disease include:
- Large rash
- Muscle and joint pain
Once the infection goes beyond the skin, it can affect any system of the body, causing symptoms like:
- Debilitating fatigue
- Severe headaches
- Joint swelling
- Nerve pain
- Muscle weakness
- Balance issues
- Numbness and tingling
- Heart-related problems
- Vision and hearing issues
In addition to physical symptoms, Lyme disease can cause mental symptoms, such as difficulty thinking and concentrating, memory loss, disorientation, cognitive deficits, mood swings, panic and anxiety.
This condition can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary, lab tests may not be reliable and it mimics other diseases. This can lead to a delay in treatment.
If Lyme disease is not properly diagnosed, it can become chronic and cause permanent damage to any organ of the body. This may include the nervous system as well as the brain, heart and joints.
SSDI or SSI Benefits for Lyme Disease
There are challenges to getting SSDI or SSI benefits for Lyme disease. Individuals must meet the requirements of a medical condition listed in the SSA’s Blue Book. If they do not meet or equal a listing, they must show how the effects of their Lyme disease interferes with their ability to work.
Meeting a Disability Listing
Lyme disease does not have a specific listing in the Blue Book. This does not mean, however, that you cannot be approved for disability benefits. It just means that an individual with Lyme disease will likely not be automatically approved by meeting or equaling a listing.
Based on the severity of your advanced Lyme disease symptoms, you may qualify under:
- Section 1.00 Musculoskeletal Disorders – If your Lyme disease-related joint pain and swelling has significantly limited your ability to walk or use your arms
- Section 4.00 Cardiovascular System – If your Lyme disease has caused damage to your heart (Lyme disease bacteria can enter the heart tissue and affect your heart’s electrical system.)
- Section 12.00 Mental Disorders – If you have anxiety or cognitive issues from Lyme disease
- Section 14.09 Inflammatory Arthritis – If you have arthritis in the knees or another weight-bearing joint that limits your mobility to a level that is considered disabled
Determining Ability to Work
If you do not meet any of the above listings, there are other limitations caused by Lyme disease that make it impossible to work. The SSA will use a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form to assess whether your impairments are severe enough to prevent you from carrying out the daily work activities.
For instance, they will review your ability to sit or stand for an extended period of time, kneel or walk, and lift, pull or grasp items. Depending on the activities you can and cannot do because of your Lyme disease, you may be deemed capable of performing sedentary, light, medium or heavy work.
This assessment, along with your medical records, could help show that you qualify for disability benefits.
What if My Disability Claim is Denied?
You have a right to appeal the decision. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in Phoenix is ready to strengthen your claim during the appeals process. A lawyer can help you gather and put together detailed medical evidence which includes your diagnosis, treatment plan and doctor’s notes about your condition.
Our lawyers often consult occupational and vocational experts who can objectively establish the functional limitations caused by a claimant’s condition (i.e. living with chronic pain or fatigue).
If your Lyme disease includes cognitive problems, your lawyer may recommend undergoing a neuropsychological assessment. This could help establish how your condition has affected cognitive functioning to the point that you can no longer perform the essential duties of your job.
Get Help Receiving SSDI or SSI Benefits
If you are unsure whether you qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, do not hesitate to reach out to our lawyers at Dayes Law Firm. We are ready to guide you through the claims process and protect your interests. Should your disability claim be denied, we are here to also help handle your appeal.
The initial consultations we offer are free of charge without any risk or obligation involved. We also charge no upfront fees and only get paid for our services if we help you obtain disability benefits.
Call 1-800-503-2000 to get started today.