Disability Benefits for Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Social Security Disability
By Kimberly BishopApril 7, 2021

If you are unable to work due to Antiphospholipid Syndrome (Hughes Syndrome), read on for how SSA can evaluate your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

The Bishop Law Firm represents Social Security Disability clients in Raleigh, NC and surrounding areas. We do not get paid unless you win and we offer free case reviews at (919) 615-3095.

Social Security Benefits Overview

The Social Security Administration offers two types of benefits (generally) to the disabled: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is based on the credits from the work you have done and SSI is a need based program. You must be found disabled under SSA's Five Step Sequential Evaluation before you are entitled to either benefit.

The Five Step Sequential Evaluation will be applied to your case at each level of the process (until you are approved): initial, reconsideration, request for hearing and the Appeals Council. If you are denied at all of the internal SSA levels, you can then appeal your case to Federal District Court to seek relief.

You can be approved at any of the above levels, but for my clients, the hearing level is where they have the greatest chance of winning their claim. For more information, see Who should apply for Social Security Disability/SSI? 

What is Antiphospholipid Syndrome?

Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) or Hughes Syndrome is a rare autoimmune disorder. As we have discussed before, autoimmune disorders can cause low activity or over activity of the immune system. In cases of immune system over activity, the body attacks and damages its own tissues. 

Antiphospholipid Syndrome occurs when the body makes antibodies that attack a type of fat (phospholipid) found in all cells especially blood cells and the lining of blood vessels (via NIH). Blood clots in various parts of the body as well as stroke, rash, pregnancy loss, headaches, dementia and seizures can all be symptoms. Also read our post: Disability Benefits for Deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The cause of Antiphospholipid Syndrome is unknown but being a female and having other autoimmune disorders (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Multiple Sclerosis) are risk factors. Treatment is aimed at preventing and reducing the size of blood clots (anticoagulants, blood thinners).

Is APS a disability?

The symptoms from APS can vary from never even knowing you have the antibody to severe recurrent symptoms including, pulmonary embolism. As with all SSA disability cases, the severity of the symptoms from your auto immune disorder are more important than the name of your impairment.

The Social Security Administration can evaluate Antiphospholipid Syndrome in different ways depending on your symptoms. The SSA Listing of Impairments (Listings), the SSA Grid Rules or the combination of your impairments can be used to find you disabled under the Five Step Sequential Evaluation. It should be noted that most Listings are difficult to meet.

If you are having recurrent thrombosis (clot inside a blood vessel), SSA can use 7.08 Disorders of Thrombosis. Listing 4.11 Chronic venous insufficiency  may also be an option. In addition, Listing 14.00 Immune System Disorders may be helpful.

The SSA Grid Rules may help someone 50 years of age and older if recurrent blood clots have affected their ability to walk and stand.

As discussed above, APS often co-occurs with other auto-immune disorders, thus opening up the possibly for one to be approved based on the combination of their impairments.

It should also be noted that SSA has a duration requirement which means that your impairment must:

§ 404.1509. How long the impairment must last.

Unless your impairment is expected to result in death, it must have lasted or must be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. We call this the duration requirement.

So, if you develop blood clots and they are resolved within a year and you are able to return to work, you may not have a Social Security Disability claim. However, this can be difficult to predict at the beginning of your symptoms.

At The Bishop Law Firm, we advise clients to apply for benefits as soon as possible if they are unable to work because of their health, as delay may cause you to you lose benefits. If your health improves at a later point you can always withdraw your claim for benefits. You will not have this option if you never apply.

Attorney Kimberly Bishop has represented Social Security Disability clients in NC since 2009 and is a NC State Bar Board Certified Social Security Disability Lawyer.

The Bishop Law Firm represents Social Security Disability clients in RaleighDurhamFayettevilleCary, Rocky MountWilsonSmithfieldLouisburgChapel HillRoanoke Rapids , Winston SalemGarner, GreensboroGreenville and surrounding areas in North Carolina.

Our firm offers free case reviews and we do not get paid unless you win. Call us today, (919) 615-3095 or start your free case review now.

Also read NC Social Security Disability Lawyer

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