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Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Scleroderma?

June was National Scleroderma Awareness Month. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that causes organs, including skin, to become hardened, thickened and inflamed. Depending on the severity of the condition and the body parts affected by it, people suffering from scleroderma may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

About Scleroderma

Scleroderma can be limited to causing hard patches or lines of skin on the face and hands, or it can be more severe, making the feet so hard that walking becomes extremely difficult. In some instances, it can be dangerous, causing vital organs to become scarred and hardened and thickened skin to appear all over the body. In all cases, it is the result of the body making too much collagen.

The condition usually develops in adulthood, although it has been shown that adults with scleroderma may have had mild symptoms as children. It sometimes develops with other autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. More women than men have scleroderma, and more people with African or Native American ancestry develop it. It is a rare disease, affecting an estimated 500,000 in the United States.

It is not known exactly what causes scleroderma. There may be some genetic component, and environmental factors have been shown to play a role. For example, men exposed to silica have been found to be more likely to develop scleroderma than other males. Doctors use blood tests to diagnose the condition.

Obtaining SSD Benefits

To obtain SSD benefits for scleroderma, you must prove that you have been medically diagnosed with the condition and that it affects at least two areas of your body. One of the areas must be severely affected. You must also show that it affects your ability to work and function in your daily life. Because the illness can be mild or severe, it is important to have as much medical documentation as possible to build a strong case for SSD benefits.

Get Help With Your Claim

If you have scleroderma and are having trouble with your claim for SSD benefits, do what so many others have done. Call the advocates at Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story and find out how they can help you.

Source: The Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center, "Understanding Scleroderma."

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