Addison's disease is rare, affecting only 1 in every 100,000 people, and can be disabling. If you have Addison's disease and need to file for disability, here are two things that you should know before you file.
1. How do you explain your condition?
Keep in mind that because your condition is rare, and because no two people are exactly alike, simply putting down your disabling condition as "Addison's disease" on the paperwork isn't going to be enough to explain to Social Security's doctors exactly what symptoms you suffer.
Addison's disease can produce a range of complex symptoms:
When you fill out your paperwork, use the opportunity to list each major symptom of your condition as if it were its own disability. In the case of endocrine disorders like yours, Social Security will evaluate your symptoms one at a time. For example, if one of your symptoms happens to be depression, Social Security will evaluate that symptom under its rules for mood disorders.
Think about your symptoms carefully as you fill out your paperwork so that you don't skip anything important. These will all be considered together when the decision about your case is made.
2. How do you explain the ways it limits you from working?
Explaining your individual symptoms is only half of the important information that you need to make sure that you give Social Security in order to be successful in your disability claim. Some people with Addison's disease are able to take cortisone supplements and function fairly normally. Others don't stabilize well and become disabled. You need to explain exactly how your condition prevents you from working.
There is space on the Social Security Disability application to offer information that will help your case. Take the time to describe how your symptoms limit your ability to function and work by comparing your symptoms to your job duties.
For example, if you work as a teacher, and one of the symptoms that you experience from Addison's is difficulty concentrating, it may be difficult to keep focused on your lesson plan or explain complex problems to others. You may lose track of what you've already covered in class and repeat yourself. If you suffer from fatigue that has caused you to fall asleep at your desk or while at lunch, explain this. The more clearly you describe examples of how your particular version of the disease affects your ability to function on the job, the better your odds of getting approved.
Living with an uncommon medical problem isn't easy. It also presents some unique challenges when filing for disability benefits because even medical professionals may be unfamiliar with the condition and the range of symptoms that you experience. Don't assume that they will understand your problems and limitations just by telling them that you have Addison's disease -- describe it for them.
If you're having difficulty with your claim, consider talking to an attorney and asking for help. An attorney who handles disability claims can guide you through the process. For more information, contact Duncan Disability Law SC or a similar firm.
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