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Can Tennesseans with skin disorders apply for SSDI benefits?

Disabilities are often perceived by Tennesseans as physical impairments, like the inability to walk or the limited use of one's extremities. However, the Social Security Administration has a wider definition of the term disability. Tennesseans may be surprised that the definition includes skin disorders.

A Tennessean who suffers a work-related illness like a skin disorder can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. However, there are certain procedures that an applicant needs to follow. First they must identify the type of skin disorder and check if it is listed in the "blue book" of the SSA. Some of the disorders covered by the blue book include bullous diseases, ichthyosis, dermatitis, and chronic infections of the mucous membranes and the skin. Burn injuries and photo sensitivity illnesses are also covered by SSDI benefits.

When the disorder is identified and is included in the listing, the applicant's condition will then be assessed. The disorder's severity, the occurrence of the lesions, the pain and the symptoms that limit the movement of the applicant and the extent of the treatment will be assessed. The applicant's response to the medical treatment will also be documented. In a nutshell, this information will make up the medical findings that will be used to determine if the applicant can receive benefits. So it is important for an applicant to include a comprehensive medical background.

The SSA will then determine how severely the disability restricts an applicant from working. In general, skin disorders that persist for around three months despite treatment are considered as a legitimate reason to award disability benefits. However, despite the legitimacy of claims there have been instances when these claims have been denied. Tennesseans in this kind of situation can file or ask a Social Security Disability benefits legal advocate to file an appeal on their behalf. Some denied claims have been reversed after filing an appeal.

Source:, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security," Accessed on Jan. 5, 2014

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