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Chronic Skin Infection and Social Security Disability

Chronic Skin Infection - Condition and Symptoms

Skin infections can be caused by bacteria, funguses, and viruses. A Chronic Skin Infection is one that does not disappear with treatment.

The symptoms of most viral infections (herpes, chicken pox, and molluscum contagiosum) subside on their own, but often reappear when conditions are right. Chicken pox, for example, often resurfaces many years later as shingles.

Fungal infections usually occur on warm, moist skin. They are treated fairly easily with anti-fungal creams, although some strains are quite resistant. Intertrigo and ringworm are two examples of fungal skin infections.

Bacterial skin infections are very common, and they can range from merely annoying to deadly. Most bacterial infections are caused by two bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. There are many bacterial agents that cause skin infections. Some of the more common ones include:

Cellulitis (which affects the deeper layers of the skin), erysipelas (which affects the top layers of the skin), folliculitis (an infection of the hair follicle), furuncle (an infection of the hair follicle and surrounding areas that may result in an abscess), carbuncle (an infection of multiple hair follicles that creates an abscess), impetigo (affecting the top layer of the skin), erythrasma (found where skin touches itself, such as between the toes, in armpits, and in the groin), and Hidradenitis suppurativa (a bacterial infection of certain sweat glands that are found in the armpits, groin, buttocks, scalp, and under the female breast).

Treatment for Chronic Skin Infection depends on the type of infection. Bacterial infections are commonly treated with antibiotics. Fungal infections are treated with anti-fungal creams and other topical medicines. Viral skin infections disappear when the virus disappears.

Filing for Social Security Disability with a Chronic Skin Infection Diagnosis

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes “chronic infections of the skin and mucous membranes” as Skin Disorders under Section 8.04 of the Blue Book. To present the best possible disability claim, you will need medical records that document the date of onset, duration, and frequency of flare-ups, as well as the prognosis of your Chronic Skin Infection. You should also have laboratory reports that confirm the medical diagnosis of your condition.

The SSA bases its ruling on the extent of your skin lesions, the frequency of flare-ups, how your symptoms (including pain) limit you, the extent of your treatment, and how your treatment affects you. The SSA considers the following factors when assessing your Chronic Skin Infection Diagnosis:

  1. Skin Lesions. Extensive skin lesions that affect more than one area of the body or involve “critical body areas” and also result in very serious limitation of your activities. For example, skin lesions that: 1) interfere with joint motion to the extent that use of more than one of your arms and legs is very limited; 2) are located on the palms of both hands and that very seriously limit your ability to perform fine and gross motor movements; 3) are located on the soles of both feet, the perineum, or both inguinal areas that very seriously limit your ability to walk or move about.
  2. Flare-Ups. If you have frequent flare-ups of your Chronic Skin Infection, the SSA may base its ruling on how frequent and serious they are, how quickly the symptoms disappear, if at all, and how you are able to function between flare-ups. The SSA will then 1) determine whether you have a severe impairment, 2) assess your functional capacity, and 3) decide if you are unable to perform any gainful activity for a continuous period of at least 12 months. The answers to these questions will determine whether the SSA approves your application for disability benefits.
  3. Symptoms.The SSA assesses the impact of the symptoms of your Chronic Skin Infection to see how this condition affects your ability to sustain gainful employment.
  4. Treatment. The SSA will assess the type and effectiveness of the treatment you receive, and whether your condition has improved or become resistant to treatment. The SSA will also determine whether treatment itself is causing side effects that limit your ability to function. Treatment records that will be requested include type, method, and frequency of treatment as well as dosage, adverse effects, and expected duration. You are expected to continue treatment for at least three months before presenting your disability claim.

Your Chronic Skin Infection will meet the SSA’s requirements for duration if it persists at the severity level required by the Blue Book listing for at least three months despite continuing treatment as prescribed.

Your Chronic Skin Infection Disability Case

If you are disabled because of a Chronic Skin Infection that is severe enough to prevent you from working, you may well be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Working closely with medical professionals and a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate to collect and present the appropriate documentation to support your disability claim in front of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) can help ensure that your Chronic Skin Infection disability case will have the highest possible chance of success.