Hashimoto’s disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder which is caused by hypothyroidism or an inflammation of the thyroid gland. The origins of the condition are unknown, although it tends to run in families and is associated with other disorders such as celiac disease and diabetes. Hashimoto’s disease is named after the doctor who identified the condition in 1912, Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, and is much more common in women than men.
Hashimoto’s disease is caused when the overactive immune system creates antibodies which attack and damage the cells in the thyroid, causing hormone levels to be too low which leads to hypothyroidism. A low thyroid ultimately can lead to a lowered heart rate and the inability of your body to generate energy through food.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s disease is progressive, and symptoms of the condition may slowly develop over many years. The severity of the condition can vary widely by individual. Some claimants may not notice the condition for many years, while others have severe, obvious signs such as:
- Severe fatigue
- Puffy face
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
- Tenderness in the muscles of your hips and shoulders
- Stiffness in your joints
- Increased menstrual cycles
Winning SSDI or SSI for Hashimoto’s Disease
The Social Security Administration has two methods of determining whether or not your condition is considered disabling and you qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits: determining if your condition is listed in the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book this is a list of all the symptoms and conditions the SSA considers automatically disabling) or determining whether you have the residual capacity to work through the medical vocational process.
The SSA does not have a specific listing for Hashimoto’s disease in the SSA Listing of Impairments. Does this mean you cannot prove that your condition meets or exceeds another listing? No, depending on the severity of your symptoms it might be possible to prove that your condition meets another listing. For instance, there are a variety of conditions which you can review under Listing 14.00 Immune System Disorders.
Additionally, if your thyroid disorder causes severe depression, the SSA may choose to evaluate your mental health status under 12.00 Mental Disorders or if you have suffered extreme weight loss the SSA may evaluate your condition under 5.00 Digestive system.
Winning SSDI or SSI Disability through a medical vocational allowance
Although it is unlikely that you will prove your condition is so severe it meets or exceeds a listing you may be able to prove that you do not have the residual capacity to work, especially if you are an older claimant and you have additional health issues. The main consideration is whether or not the SSA believes you can perform substantial gainful activity.
Getting treatment for your condition
Many SSDI and SSI claimants do not understand how critical medical care is for their case, especially an autoimmune disorder which can often be effectively treated. It is likely that if you are not getting the proper medical care for your Hashimoto’s disease the SSA could argue that with proper treatment you would have the ability to work and they will deny your SSDI or SSI case.