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Thyroid Conditions and Social Security Disability Benefits

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine hormone, causing an overactive metabolism that accelerates body functions. Claimants with hyperthyroidism may experience increased appetite, tiredness, apathy, excessive sweating and urination, depression, weakness and excessive weight loss.

An individual with hyperthyroidism may also experience more severe symptoms which can include tachycardia, increased body temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, coma, or even death.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is caused when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone. Claimants who have hypothyroidism are said to have an "underactive thyroid” and may suffer from symptoms such as sluggishness, slowed heart rate, tiredness, inability to tolerate cold, mental fatigue, and constipation.

What causes hypothyroidism? Most claimants who have this condition have Grave's disease which is an autoimmune disorder which attacks the thyroid gland, causing the gland to overproduce hormones. Other claimants may have Plummer’s disease (toxic adenoma or toxic multinodular goiter).

To diagnosis hypothyroidism claimants should have blood tests done. If the diagnosis is confirmed additional testing may be needed to determine what the claimant should do to treat the condition. Medications can often control both hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism or the claimant may have to have their thyroid removed.

Can I win disability for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism?

The Social Security Administration publishes a list of impairments and diseases which they consider automatically disabling. This book is informally known as the Blue Book. To immediately qualify for disability benefits for a thyroid gland disorder your condition will have to meet the requirements outlined in the Blue Book.

The Endocrine system is very complicated and to evaluate a thyroid disorder the SSA will generally determine what types of symptoms the claimant has and evaluate their severity. For instance, if your thyroid disorder causes severe depression, the SSA may choose to evaluate your mental health status under 12.00 Mental Disorders. If your condition has affected your heart, the SSA may choose to evaluate your symptoms under 4.00 Cardiovascular system. If you have suffered extreme weight loss, the SSA may evaluate your condition under 5.00 Digestive system.

What is the main consideration? The Social Security Administration will want to know if you can perform substantial gainful activity. If your thyroid gland condition does not meet or exceed a listing in the SSA Blue Book, ultimately, you will need to prove that your condition is so severe that you cannot perform certain daily tasks or maintain employment.

Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer

Claimants whose condition does not match a listing in the SSA Blue Book will have a more difficult time winning SSDI or SSI benefits. The first step is to make sure you understand how the SSA determines disability and awards benefits. Next, provide as much medical and background information as you can to the SSA so they can understand what body functions are affected by your condition.

Claimants must also be under the consistent care of a medical professional and be following the recommended treatment plans for their condition. The SSA will not award SSI or SSDI benefits if they believe you would be able to work if you followed your doctor’s recommendations for treatment.