We do not request reimbursement of costs
(such as repayment for obtaining medical records)
from veterans nor from people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

Is Scleroderma a disability?

Scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease, can significantly impact an individual’s ability to carry out daily tasks and employment responsibilities. The extent of the condition’s effect on a person can determine its classification as a disability.

When evaluating eligibility due to scleroderma disability, various factors are considered. These include the level of skin and organ involvement, any functional limitations that have persisted for at least 12 months, and the ability to engage in substantial gainful activity.

The Social Security Administration evaluates scleroderma under its Listing of Impairments under Section 14.04 Systemic Sclerosis. It outlines specific criteria for qualifying as disabled due to scleroderma.

Disability Benefits for Scleroderma

What is Scleroderma?

Systemic sclerosis, or scleroderma, is a long-term autoimmune disorder that causes abnormal connective tissue growth. It impacts different body areas, such as the skin, muscles, blood vessels, and internal organs.

Scleroderma is caused by excess production and buildup of collagen, a protein that gives structure and support to tissues. This overproduction of collagen leads to thickening, hardening, and tightening of the skin and connective tissues. The severity and progression of scleroderma can vary significantly among individuals.

Can you get disability benefits for Scleroderma?

Yes, it is possible to receive disability benefits for scleroderma if the condition significantly impairs your ability to work. Applicants can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income to be eligible for the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) benefits.

To meet the listing, you must provide medical evidence that shows the following:

  • The involvement of two or more body systems, such as the skin, muscles, joints, lungs, heart, kidneys, or gastrointestinal tract
  • One of the following:
  • Marked limitation in physical functioning due to systemic sclerosis.
  • Repeated manifestations of the disease result in significant symptoms and interfere with daily activities.

Even if you don’t meet the exact requirements for disability benefits due to scleroderma, you can still qualify by showing that your ability to work is greatly affected by the symptoms and limitations of the condition. The Social Security Administration will evaluate your residual functional capacity to determine if you can continue with your previous job or take on a different one.

What are the symptoms of Scleroderma?

The symptoms of scleroderma can vary widely depending on the type of scleroderma and the organs affected. Some common symptoms associated with scleroderma are as follows:

Skin Changes: Scleroderma often leads to skin symptoms, including:

  • Thickening and hardening of the skin, particularly on the fingers, hands, face, and lower arms
  • Tightening and loss of flexibility make it difficult to move certain areas.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon is characterized by fingers or toes turning white or blue in response to cold or stress.

Gastrointestinal Issues: Scleroderma can affect the digestive tract, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Acid reflux (heartburn) and difficulty swallowing.
  • Bloating, gas, and changes in bowel movements.
  • Reduced nutrient absorption leads to weight loss or malnutrition in severe cases.

Respiratory Complications: Scleroderma may impact the lungs and respiratory system, causing:

  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity.
  • Dry cough and wheezing.
  • Pulmonary hypertension or pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of lung tissue).

Joint and Muscle Pain: Many individuals with scleroderma experience:

Organ Involvement: In some cases, scleroderma can affect internal organs, leading to various symptoms:

  • Kidney complications, such as high blood pressure and changes in urinary function
  • Heart problems, including arrhythmias, pericarditis, and myocardial fibrosis
  • Gynecological issues, such as vaginal dryness and painful intercourse

Types of Scleroderma

There are two main types of scleroderma:

  • Limited Cutaneous Scleroderma: This type of scleroderma primarily affects the skin on the fingers, hands, face, and lower arms. It may also involve the digestive tract, lungs, and blood vessels. Limited cutaneous scleroderma is often associated with specific autoantibodies, such as anticentromere antibodies.
  • Diffuse Cutaneous Scleroderma: Diffuse scleroderma affects a larger skin area and involves internal organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system. It progresses more rapidly than limited cutaneous scleroderma and is associated with different autoantibodies, such as anti-Scl-70 antibodies.

In addition to skin changes, scleroderma can cause a wide range of symptoms and complications, including Raynaud’s phenomenon (abnormal sensitivity to cold temperatures), joint pain, muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, digestive problems, lung involvement (such as pulmonary fibrosis), and kidney complications.

What are my different options for applying for Scleroderma Disability Benefits?

When applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, you have several options to choose from:

  • Online application: The SSA provides an online application portal for disability benefits. You can access the online application through the SSA’s website.
  • Phone application: If you prefer to apply over the phone or need assistance with the application process, call the SSA’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to schedule an appointment.
  • In-person application: You can also visit your local Social Security office to apply for disability benefits in person.
  • Paper application: If you prefer a paper application, you can request one by calling the SSA’s toll-free number or visiting your local Social Security office.

How much is the disability check for scleroderma?

The number of disability benefits for scleroderma or any other disability under the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the United States can vary based on various factors. There are two main disability programs offered by the SSA: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance: The monthly benefit amount you may receive under SSDI is based on your average lifetime earnings covered by Social Security. As of 2023, the average monthly benefit for SSDI recipients is around $3,600.
  • Supplemental Security Income: SSI is a needs-based program for individuals with limited income and resources. The federal government sets the monthly benefit amount, which may vary slightly each year. As of 2023, an eligible individual’s maximum federal SSI payment is $914 per month.

Was the Scleroderma disability claim rejected? Consult Chermol & Fishman, LLC

Suppose the Social Security Administration rejected your disability claim. In that case, it may be beneficial to seek legal assistance from a Dallas disability attorney. They can help you understand the reasons for the denial and guide you through the appeals process. Schedule a free consultation or call 888-774-7243 if you have more questions about your scleroderma disability claim.

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