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Graves Disease and Disability Benefits

Graves Disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is an immune system disorder that can cause an over production of thyroid hormones. As with many thyroid conditions, the symptoms and impairments caused by the disorder can vary significantly making it difficult to generalize about whether or not a claimant with this condition can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

Graves Disease can be severe but it is generally not life-threatening. Graves Disease generally occurs later in life (30 to 60 years of age) and may be an autoimmune response to some type of a virus. Women are more likely to suffer from Graves Disease than men. Graves Disease sufferers may have to have their thyroid surgically removed or radioactive iodine treatment or they may have to take thyroid medication.

What symptoms are caused by Graves Disease?


As mentioned before, the symptoms of Graves Disease can range from the mild to severe. Claimants may experience any of the following:

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income for Graves Disease


The Social Security Administration approves disability benefits for health conditions using two methods: determining if the condition is on the SSA Listing of Impairments or determining if the claimant has the residual functional capacity to work (medical vocational allowance).

Meeting a Social Security Administration Listing for Graves Disease


The Social Security Administration does not have a specific listing for Graves Disease in their SSA Listing of Impairments, but they have indicated that if a claimant’s condition causes an impairment in the Endocrine System (such as a severe thyroid condition) the claimant’s condition can be evaluated based on the body system that is affected.

According to the SSA, “If the claimant has a thyroid gland disorder which affects the sympathetic nervous system and normal metabolism. We evaluate thyroid-related changes in blood pressure and heart rate that cause arrhythmias or other cardiac dysfunction under 4.00; thyroid-related weight loss under 5.00; hypertensive cerebrovascular accidents (strokes) under 11.00; and cognitive limitations, mood disorders, and anxiety under 12.00.”

So to meet a listing for Graves Disease the claimant could meet the listing under the appropriate section.

Winning Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income for Graves Disease through a medical vocation allowance


Claimants who have Graves Disease can also win Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income if they can prove that they do not have any residual capacity to work and their condition is so severe that it is expected to last for 12 continuous months.

How can a claimant prove they cannot work? Think about common work activities and make sure your medical records to support your claim that you cannot perform them. For instance, do you have difficulty standing, walking or sitting for long periods of time? Do you have limitations in the amount of weight you can carry or lift? Do you have severe side-effects from your medications? How often do you miss work because of your condition? Would you have difficulty maintaining a work schedule?

Claimants who do not have the capability to work their current job, previous work or retrain for new work may be able to win disability benefits for Graves Disease through a medical vocational allowance.

If you need help determining if your condition is severe enough to get Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, contact a disability lawyer.
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