If you suffer from a pituitary gland malfunction and it makes you unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program to pay monthly benefits for those who are unable to work. In order to be eligible for benefits, you must have worked to earn enough credits and to have paid in enough taxes to Social Security. If you are disabled and eligible for SSDI, certain dependents may also be eligible for benefits as well.
The pituitary gland is the main gland of the endocrine system. These glands release hormones that are needed to perform various bodily functions. There are several other glands in the system, including the parathyroid, thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal glands. When you have a pituitary gland disorder, your pituitary gland disorder is producing either not enough or too much of a hormone.
The pituitary gland produces growth hormone, which maintains body tissues in adults and distributes fat. It also produces ACTH which causes cortisol release from the adrenal gland. ACTH is a hormone that signals the body to respond to stress, while it also impacts blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Another hormone released by the pituitary is TSH, which is responsible for regulation of metabolism, the nervous system, energy, and many other functions.
In addition, the pituitary releases hormones that regulate testosterone, reproductive system components, and estrogen. There are several different disorders of the pituitary gland, including tumors, which are not cancerous but which do significantly impact the hormone releasing functions. Other disorders result from birth defects, medications, and injuries.
The Cost of Treating Pituitary Gland Disorders
According to Cost Helper, those who have health insurance will have co-pays ranging from 10% to 50%. Medication can range from $200 to $1,000 per month. If the condition requires surgery or radiation, it can cost $12,000 to $55,000 for treatment. For total costs of tumor removal, the price varies from $20,000 to $40,000 when a cash-pay discount is applied, but insurance companies can be billed as much as $75,000. If the procedure requires that the skull be opened, the surgical procedure could cost as much as $150,000. Of course, the severity of the condition, the kind of tumor, and the symptoms produced have a major impact on the treatment plan.
The SSA Evaluation and Medical Qualifications
In the Blue Book, which is the SSA medical guide, pituitary gland disorders are found under Section 9.00 Endocrine Disorders. Since the pituitary gland disorders can cause a wide range of symptoms they are under the specific disabling condition that is caused by a specific hormone imbalance. As an example, if a pituitary gland disorder in an adult involves a deficiency of the growth hormone it would be evaluated under the musculoskeletal system.
If the pituitary gland disorder causes hydration issues, the person would be evaluated as a genitourinary problem under dehydration, which is listed under the Blue Book’s Section 6.00. In that case, the individual would have to meet the specific criteria for symptoms that are listed under that particular condition. Because the pituitary gland releases so many different hormones, there are several different conditions and symptoms that can apply.
However, you may have symptoms from a pituitary gland disorder that do not fall under the different sections as listed in the Blue Book. In those cases, you can apply for disability using a medical-vocational allowance. Many people get approval using the medical-vocational approach because you can show the severity of your condition and symptoms.
Meeting Disability Criteria with an RFC and Medical - Vocational Allowance
If you don’t meet the requirements to be considered disabled per a listing in the Blue Book, you may qualify using a medical-vocational allowance. Using this approach, the Disability Determination Services will consider your medical conditions, your symptoms, how your daily life is impacted by your condition, your age, your education level, your work experience, and your transferable work skills.
Your doctor will need to fill out a residual functioning capacity (RFC) form. This form should be very specific in regards to your limitations and your symptoms. As an example, if your pituitary gland disorder causes blood sugar fluctuations that result in confusion and dizziness, that should be indicated. It should be noted how that limits your ability to walk significant distances or stand for long periods of time.
If your condition causes dizziness, nervousness, or other issues, your doctor should indicate how those symptoms limit your ability to sit for long periods, work with others and deal with the public, or concentrate on a specific task for a long period of time. Providing thorough documentation is important in proving your case and helping you win approval.
Include all of your medical records, any test results, physician notes, and documentation about how your condition has impacted your ability to handle your daily functions or continue your regular work duties. Be very specific and detailed, explaining how your life has changed since you became inflicted with the condition.
Applying Specific Medical Tests to Your Case for Disability
Pituitary gland disorders can be diagnosed by multiple tests, including blood work, MRI scans, and ultrasounds. These tests can determine which hormones are impacted by your disorder and how those hormone imbalances are impacting your ability to do your regular daily activities.
In some cases, the SSA may order a medical evaluation with the physician that they choose at their expense. This is an evaluation only and not for medical treatment. This evaluation will determine if your condition is as severe as you have indicated. Sometimes a mental evaluation will also be ordered to determine if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental conditions resulting from the stress of the pituitary gland disorder.
The disability process can be lengthy, and you can be denied benefits twice. You can, however, appeal those denials. The final step would be a hearing before an administrative law judge who will rule on the case. Extensive documentation is the key to proving your disability case so provide as much documentation as you possibly can up front.