On average, applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits take four or more months for the initial review to be completed, and for a variety of reasons, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies the majority of applications (about 70%) following the initial review as well. When an initial application for disability benefits is denied, the applicant must go through a reconsideration review and will eventually need to file an appeal, if he or she is denied benefits a second time. All together, this entire process can take a year or more to complete.
As those individuals who suffer from very severe disabilities and terminal illnesses don’t have months or years to wait for a decision on their eligibility for benefits, the SSA has alternative review and approval processes in place for addressing claims filed with certain diagnoses. Under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program, a list of clearly and inarguably disabling conditions exists. Claims which are filed for SSD with a diagnosis on the CAL list are expedited in order to provide benefits in a timelier manner to those who need them most.
At present, there are 113 disabling conditions which are among the SSA’s CAL list, though 52 additional conditions were recently approved for inclusion in the CAL program effective August 13, 2012, including Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis.
If you’ve received a diagnosis of Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis, the information that follows may help you understand how the SSA reviews disability claims for the specific condition. It will also provide you some guidelines for seeing a quick and smooth approval of disability benefits under the CAL guidelines of the SSA.
Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis – Condition and Symptoms
Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis (HUV) is a rare condition that affects the small blood vessels just beneath the surface of the skin, causing chronic, severe hives and larger skin lesions. Symptoms include itching, burning, tenderness and pain. These are only the most obvious, visible signs of HUV, but the disease is actually a systemic (full body involvement), autoimmune disease, which essentially means the immune system over reacts, and the immune defenses attack the body’s healthy cells.
Other, very severe symptoms can be present along with skin conditions, including fever, pain and swelling in the joints, heart and kidney disease, eye inflammation, and swelling in the deeper layers of the skin. Individuals with HUV may also have several other serious conditions including Systemic Lupus Eruthematous, Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Cryoglobulinemia. Some may additionally have Hepatitis B or C as well.
The condition is often misdiagnosed in its early stages. Physicians who observe the common skin symptoms and suspect HUV can confirm the diagnosis by identifying the presence of two other primary components, like venulitis from a skin biopsy combined with arthritis, or inflammation in the eyes in conjunction with a positive C1q antibody test.
Because HUV is rare and was only clearly identified as a unique disease in the 1970s, treatment for the condition is still in its infancy. Some individuals with HUV respond well to the common medications used in treating Lupus. More often, however, physicians treat the various symptoms of the condition because a clearly established and well defined effective treatment regimen has yet to be determined. Common treatments include the use of medications like antihistamines and glucocorticoids and immunosuppressant medications.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis
Although Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis has been approved by the SSA for faster review and approval according to CAL guidelines, this does not mean your application will automatically be approved. You must still substantiate your claim for disability by including expensive medical documentation in your application.
Thorough medical records must be presented in any SSD benefits application, even when the claim is filed for a condition which falls under the CAL program. In other words, a diagnosis of HUV does not eliminate the need for medical records. In fact, your application should contain all medical records, including labs and other test results as well as statements from the different physicians who’ve treated the condition.
Because HUV is a systemic condition in which multiple organs and other parts of the body can be affected, your medical records should include details of all medical conditions from which you suffer. Additionally, because other illnesses like Lupus, Arthritis, and Kidney Disease are common in HUV sufferers, the SSA will want to review medical records and other documentation associated with these diseases as well. The more detail you can place in your application for SSD benefit, the less likely you are to see delays in the review and approval of disability benefits.
Your Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis Social Security Disability Case
While Hypocomplementemic Urticarial Vasculitis is now considered among the conditions with expedited review procedures under the Compassionate Allowances program of the SSA, filing a claim with a diagnosis of HUV does not guarantee approval for disability benefits. You must still substantiate the disability by having a well documented case file and application. A Social Security Disability attorney can assist you in putting together your application and getting the appropriate documentation for proving your disability.