You can suffer from a variety of thyroid gland disorders, and many of them can have a major negative impact on your life. If a thyroid disorder has rendered you disabled to work, you could be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program to individuals who have worked enough to earn an adequate amount of credits and has paid in a sufficient amount of taxes to the SSA.
While many people have thyroid disorders that are controlled by medicine, there are several people who have thyroid disorders that are much more difficult to manage and that wreak havoc on their daily lives, and render them unable to work. If you are one of those people, you can apply for disability benefits through the SSA.
If you are approved for SSDI, you may have certain dependents who are eligible to receive benefits as well. To be approved for benefits, your thyroid gland disorder has to be severe enough to make you permanently and completely disability. Benefits are not available for partial disability. The thyroid is a small gland at the front of your neck.
It has the job of producing hormones for your body’s cells to enable them to function normally. These are hormones that help with energy in the body and assist children with growth. If your thyroid gland is underactive or overactive, it can impact your ability to function normally.
Financial Costs Involved with the Treatment of Thyroid Gland Disorders
An individual can suffer from various thyroid disorders. The most common problems are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. According to Cost Helper, treatment of these conditions are generally covered by health insurance, but even then there are prescription co-pays, co-pays for doctor visits, and coinsurance and deductibles costs related to hospitalizations, laboratory testing, and any required procedures or treatment plans.
For those who do not have health insurance, the cost of treatment can range from $15 to $100 per month and anywhere from $1,200 to $1,500 per year. The majority of the costs go toward the medications to treat the thyroid disorder. Regular visits to the physician are required to have blood work done to determine the hormone levels and check if adjustments are required for the medication doses.
While many primary physicians treat thyroid disorders, sometimes you may be referred to an endocrinologist who focuses on thyroid issues and several other medical conditions. They will come up with a treatment plan focused on addressing your hormone levels and individual needs.
The SSA Evaluation and Medical Qualifications
While thyroid disorders can be serious, there is no specific listing for them in the SSA medical guide, which is known as the Blue Book. While many patients are able to function normally and control their thyroid issues with medication, there are those who lives are seriously impacted by the major complications, such as strokes, heart issues, anxiety, depression, or unintended and uncontrolled weight loss or weight gain.
There are several Blue Book listings that involve thyroid disorders. Some of the more common thyroid medical issues and how the SSA addresses them and evaluates them include:
- Listing 13.09, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, Thyroid, addresses thyroid cancer.
- Listing 5.08, Digestive Systems, addresses unintentional weight loss.
- Listing 4.00, Cardiovascular System, assesses thyroid-related heart problems.
- Listing 11.04, Central Nervous System Vascular Accidents covers strokes resulting from thyroid complications.
- Listing 12.00, Mood Disorders such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive issues that can be caused by thyroid problems are assessed.
If any of your symptoms meet the Blue Book guidelines for being disabled, you would be approved for SSDI benefits under the SSA regulations. In the event you don’t meet the guidelines established for one specific condition, you could have enough issues and symptoms from various conditions that would qualify you for SSDI benefits using a medical-vocational allowance.
Meeting Disability Criteria with an RFC
There can be a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by thyroid gland disorders. These symptoms, along with any other medical conditions that you have, should be documented by your physician in a residual functioning capacity (RFC) form. With the help of an RFC, you may be approved for benefits even if you didn’t meet the Blue Book requirements.
When completing the form, your physician needs to take note of any symptoms and any limitations. As an example, if you have hypothyroidism and suffer from swollen legs, severe pain, and fatigue that render you unable to stand for more than 2 hours without re positioning, that should be clearly indicated. Or, if you suffer from hyperthyroidism that makes you suffer from irritability, muscle weakness, and tremors to the point that you cannot grasp items or work with others, that should be specified.
Other things in addition to your medical condition will be considered, including your age, past work experience, transferable skills, and education level. A thoroughly completed RFC can have a significant outcome on determining whether or not you are approved for disability benefits.
Applying Specific Medical Tests to Your Individual Case
Thyroid disorders can be diagnosed with a variety of tests, so a treatment plan can be set up. Lab tests will determine hormonal levels and confirm the thyroid gland’s level of functioning. When you apply for Social Security Disability, the more documentation you provide, the better it is for getting your claim settled in your favor.
The SSA may order an additional medical evaluation at their expense during the process. The exam would be scheduled with the physician they choose, and it will not be used for medical treatment but only for informational purposes. An evaluation ordered by SSA may include inexpensive testing, such as lab work to check the functioning of the thyroid gland as well.
This evaluation is to assess your symptoms and to determine if they are indeed as severe as you have claimed and if your thyroid functioning is as abnormal as implied in the documentation. The medical evaluation can sometimes help your claim when your information has been confirmed.
If you are interested in applying for SSDI benefits, or learning more about the process, visit the Social Security Administration website or call 1-800-772-1213. Remember the disability process can be lengthy and a claim can involve up to two denials and appeals before it goes before an administrative law judge for a decision.