Systemic Lupus Erythematous (“SLE”), usually referred to as lupus, is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation that can affect the internal organs and joints. It causes chronic fatigue, joint pain, headaches, fevers and rashes. There are different kinds of lupus, and the severity of each of those types can vary greatly from person to person. Some people just get a rash, others are completely debilitated from pain, fatigue and malaise (feeling sick). For this reason, it is critical that your doctor document and acknowledge the severity of your condition and resulting limitations of function. However, judges know that SLE is a progressive and potentially debilitating condition. If your lupus is causing you limitations of function that would prevent you from being able to attend work regularly, or concentrate on even simple tasks when you are there, then your lupus could be considered disabling even if it does not neatly fit the regulations below.
Section 14.02 of the Social Security Administration’s listing of impairments specifically addresses the regulations that govern whether or not your lupus is severe enough to be considered disabling. Those are copied below:
14.02 Systemic lupus erythematosus. As described in 14.00D1. With:
- Involvement of two or more organs/body systems, with:
- One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and
- At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).
- Repeated manifestations of SLE, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:
- Limitation of activities of daily living.
- Limitation in maintaining social functioning.
- Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.