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Skin Disorders and Social Security Disability

There are a number of skin disorders which may make you eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In determining whether you qualify for benefits, the SSA will evaluate your condition under the guidelines laid out in the Blue Book. Section 8 of the Blue Book deals with skin disorders.

Regardless of the type and cause of your skin disease, the SSA will need information regarding:

  • The location of the condition
  • The size of the condition
  • The appearance of any lesions
  • A history of any irritants, toxins, or allergens you were exposed to
  • Family history of skin disorders
  • Documentation regarding if and how the changing seasons affect your disorder
  • List of stressors which cause your skin problems
  • A full description of your ability to function without special environmental adaptations.

Generally speaking, these items must be confirmed by medical records or lab results. Lesions and similar skin issues are evaluated based on their severity and whether their location causes a significant impairment of your ability to perform normal work activities like walking, sitting, standing, lifting, pulling, pushing, bending, grasping, and fine motor movements.

In most cases, you will need to show that your condition has been under medical treatment and that you are complying with all treatments and therapies prescribed. It is important to continue your medical treatment while you are applying for disability benefits, as this could impact the SSA’s decision.

Many skin disorders are evaluated based on the effects they have on your other bodily functions. In such cases, other sections of the Blue Book may be consulted to determine whether your condition is severe enough to warrant disability benefits.

The skin disorders which are listed in the Blue Book and the basic requirements to qualify for Social Security disability benefits are as follows:

  • Bullous Diseases - Must have skin lesions over extensive parts of your body for three months or more.
  • Burns - To qualify for disability benefits from burns, you must have skin lesions which are expected to last (or have already lasted) at least one full year.
  • Chronic mucous membrane or skin infections - Must have extensive lesions which are ulcerating or fungating for three months or longer.
  • Dermatitis (includes a number of skin conditions) - To qualify for disability, your skin lesions must persist for at least three months.
  • Genetic Photosensitivity Disorders - If you have xereoderma pigmentosum, you are automatically qualified for benefits, and will be considered disabled from the time of your birth. Otherwise, you must have skin lesions over significant parts of your body which have lasted or are expected to last for at least a year or be able to show that you are unable to function for a year or more outside of a protective environment.
  • Hidradenitis Suppurtiva - Both axillae and both inguinal areas must be affected and the condition must persist for three months or longer.
  • Ichthyosis - Must have skin lesions for three months or more covering extensive parts of your body.

Other specific disabling conditions that qualify for benefits under the skin disorders evaluation: