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Lyme disease can I get SSDI benefits?

Recently on our forum a user asked, “I have been sick for years and recently got diagnosed with Lyme disease. My symptoms have been intermittent, but I go for long stretches of time where it is tough to work. My employer has been great but is getting tired of trying to accommodate me. I was thinking about quitting work and applying for SSDI benefits. What are your thoughts? Will I be approved for SSDI for Lyme disease?”


What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection cause by a tick bite. Because individuals often do not realize they have been bitten and the physical symptoms can be different in everyone, Lyme disease is often hard to diagnose.

To complicate the issue of diagnosing, many patients have symptoms which mimic other severe health conditions including heart disease, joint swelling, fatigue, and extreme pain. Some individuals may also have severe mental symptoms, including memory loss, attention and executive functional deficits, anxiety, panic attacks, and delusions.

Can I get SSDI for Lyme disease?

Although the SSA has a list of conditions and symptoms they consider automatically disabling, they are less concerned with what ails you then whether or not your condition is so severe you cannot work.

In fact, you can any type of recognized diagnosed health condition and win SSDI benefits if you can prove that your condition is as severe as a condition listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments and you cannot work for at least 12 continuous months.

When considering whether your Lyme disease is a severe as a listed condition you will want to provide evidence about its severity. For example, does your Lyme disease limit your ability to walk or use your arms? Has it damaged your heart? Has it caused inflammatory arthritis? Do you suffer from any type of mental health condition which makes it impossible to maintain employment?

What if my condition does not “meet or exceed” a listing?

If you are not able to prove your Lyme disease meets or exceeds a listing all hope is not lost. In fact, some people suffer from so many different symptoms or conditions that all of their ailments in totality make it impossible to work.

If your condition does not meet a listing you will need to prove your do not have the residual physical capacity to work. This can be done by proving that cannot work your current job and you cannot retrain for new work.

If you are young this means you will have to prove you cannot perform any type of sedentary job. It’s not unusual, however, for even younger workers who have Lyme disease to suffer from physical, neurological, cognitive, and psychological impairments that make sedentary work impossible.

Do I need a lawyer to win SSDI for Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is not only hard to diagnosis it can also be difficult to prove it is severe as meeting a listed condition. With this in mind, it’s likely if you have Lyme disease and you decide to apply for SSDI benefits that you will be denied the first time you apply.

Talk to a lawyer if you have questions.

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