How can I qualify for SSD benefits based on a skin disorder?

The Social Security Administration program that provides disability benefits is widely misunderstood or overlooked. Many people believe the SSA only provides benefits to elderly or retired individuals; those who know that disability benefits exist often think that one can qualify only for specific, more commonly-known disabilities. In fact, there are a range of illnesses and medical conditions that can make someone disabled and thus qualify them to receive benefits. Skin disorders are one category of illnesses/conditions that often receive little attention.

As identified in the SSA’s BlueBook, there are seven different categories of skin disorders that can make someone eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits for illness, depending on the severity of each person’s condition and other factors. The seven categories are ichtyosis, bullous disease, chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes, dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurative, genetic photosensitivity disorders and burns. The different skin disorders that can qualify an applicant for benefits may be acquired pathological disorders, hereditary conditions or congenital conditions.

When an applicant seeks disability benefits on the basis of a skin disorder, he or she will need to provide a great deal of documentation about the disorder. The documentation must include details about the onset of the condition, how long it has lasted, how frequently it flares up, an overall prognosis, specific details about the skin lesions, and a description of the person’s exposure to toxins, allergens, irritants, etc., that may affect the condition’s development. The SSA will also require evidence and information related to what kind of protective environment the applicant needs as a result of the skin disorder and how well he or she can function outside of that protective environment.

One of the key assessments performed by the SSA in evaluating an applicant’s claim is how severe the applicant’s particular disorder is. Various factors are considered in evaluating severity, including the extent of skin lesions, the limitations caused by the disorder, how frequently the disorder or condition flares up, what kind of treatment has been received and the overall effect of treatment. Although there are many other considerations involved in assessing an applicant’s claim for benefits based on a skin disorder, these are some of the primary things an applicant must be prepared to document and prove.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security–8.00 Skin Disorders – Adult,” accessed Dec. 1, 2014