How to Get Disability for Thyroid Gland Disorders

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There are a variety of thyroid gland disorders that can negatively impact your life, two of which are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid gland disorder, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if your medical condition is severe enough. 

What is Thyroid Disease? 

Thyroid disease is a general term that encompasses a range of conditions that, in some way, disrupt the thyroid's ability to produce hormones in the appropriate quantities. Given that each one of these thyroid conditions has different symptoms and effects on the body, they all have different impacts on your ability to work

The thyroid is a small gland at the front of your neck that produces hormones for the body’s cells so that they function normally. For example, a person's ability to act normally can be impacted by their thyroid gland being either overactive or not active enough. 

Hormones produced by the thyroid help with maintaining energy in the body and assist children to grow. The thyroid gland and its hormones are tied to almost every organ system in the body, including: 

  • The Cardiovascular System. Given that your thyroid helps your body regulate the amount of blood your heart pumps throughout your body (i.e., your circulatory system), heart strength, vigor of your heart’s contraction, and heart rate are all impacted by your thyroid. Thyroid gland disorders can cause cardiac arrhythmias and other heart issues
  • The Nervous System. Improper functioning of the thyroid can cause symptoms that impact your nervous system (e.g., tingling, numbness, a sense of burning or pain in the affected area(s) of your body, etc). Additionally, hyperthyroidism can cause anxiety, and hypothyroidism can cause depression. Thyroid gland disorders can also increase a person’s risk of stroke, cause cognitive limitations, and bring about changes in one’s mood
  • The Digestive System. Your thyroid is involved with your body’s gastrointestinal motility (i.e., how the food you eat moves throughout your body’s digestive tract). Thyroid gland conditions can cause weight loss as well as weight gain. 
  • The Reproductive System. Improper functioning of the thyroid can cause issues with fertility as well as irregular menstrual periods. 

There are four main thyroid conditions. These are: 

  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Goiter (englarged thyroid) 
  • Thyroid cancer

In addition to the above-named disorders, a parathyroid condition can impact calcium levels in several areas of the body including bones, blood, nerves, and tissue. It can lead to conditions such as hypercalcemia, kidney failure, cataracts, and hypocalcemia, which can cause tetany and muscle spasms. 

Further Reading: Tips on Qualifying for Disability with a Thyroid Gland Disorder 

What Thyroid Conditions Can You Get Disability Benefits For? 

There are many thyroid conditions that qualify for disability. Several thyroid gland disorders can have a negative impact on your life—particularly hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. 

If your doctor has diagnosed you with a thyroid gland disorder, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits if the medical condition is severe enough. Other thyroid conditions such as Hashimoto’s, overactive thyroid, underactive thyroid, and hypo/hyperthyroidism may qualify for disability benefits as well. 

While many thyroid disorders can be controlled by medicine, some people have thyroid conditions that aren’t easy to manage and prevent them from being able to work. 

The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two disability benefits programs—Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—to provide financial and medical assistance to people who have a disabling condition. The SSDI program is available to people who: 

  • have been told they suffer from a thyroid problem, and 
  • have worked long enough to have accumulated enough work credits—and have, thereby, paid sufficient taxes to the SSA. 

Further Reading: Social Security Disability Age Chart (for work credits) 

The SSI program is a needs-based program. As such, SSI benefits are available to people who: 

  • have been told they suffer from a thyroid problem, and 
  • can prove that their household income and assets fall below the specific income threshold (i.e., “income cap”) set forth by the SSA. 

Take our free disability evaluation right now to see if you qualify for disability. 

There are several thyroid conditions that can qualify for disability benefits through the SSA. Find out which ones with this comprehensive guide.

Qualifying for Disability with Thyroid Conditions 

Debilitating thyroid gland disorders can significantly impact various aspects of one's life, potentially rendering individuals unable to work. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers financial assistance in the form of monthly disability benefits checks to individuals who can’t work as a result of a disabling condition.   
In this section, we delve into the specific requirements and steps necessary to qualify and apply for disability benefits with a thyroid condition. Ultimately, it's essential to understand the criteria set by the SSA and the detailed process of proving the severity of your thyroid-related symptoms to give yourself the best chance of getting approved. 

Further Reading: Can I Continue Working with Thyroid Gland Disorders? 

Qualifying for Disability via the Blue Book  

To qualify for disability benefits related to thyroid disorders, understanding the evaluation process outlined in the SSA's Blue Book is crucial. The Blue Book serves as the medical guide used by the SSA to assess disability benefit applications. 

Blue Book Listings for Thyroid Disorders: 

Several Blue Book listings involve thyroid disorders. Some of the more common thyroid medical issues and how the SSA addresses them and evaluates them include: 

Meeting Disability Guidelines: 

If your thyroid condition aligns with the disability guidelines outlined in the Blue Book, the SSA will likely approve you for disability benefits. However, even if your specific thyroid condition doesn't meet the Blue Book's guidelines, you may still qualify for disability by presenting a combination of symptoms from different conditions. 

Submitting Comprehensive Medical Evidence: 

To prove that you meet the requirements of a Blue Book listing, submitting comprehensive medical evidence to the SSA alongside your application is essential. This includes: 

  • Diagnosis information.
  • Your complete medical history.
  • Results of physical exams.
  • Blood test results and other laboratory test results.
  • Medications you’re taking and their side effects.
  • Opinions from medical professionals who've assisted you with your thyroid condition.  
  • Information about the treatments you've received and your responses to those treatments. 

Submitting as much medical documentation as possible is imperative, as the SSA meticulously reviews your records during the application evaluation process, aiming to match your condition with the most relevant disability listing. 

SSA's Regulations: 

Under the SSA's regulations, if your symptoms meet the Blue Book’s disability criteria, you are likely to be approved for SSDI benefits. If you are approved for benefits, you may have certain dependents who are eligible to receive benefits as well. If you don’t meet the Blue Book’s guidelines for one specific condition, you can still qualify for SSDI by presenting enough issues and symptoms from various medical conditions found in the Blue Book, using a medical vocational allowance

Qualifying for Disability with an RFC 

Thyroid conditions can result in a range of debilitating symptoms, all of which can be meticulously documented in a residual functional capacity (RFC) form completed by your physician. RFCs play a crucial role in helping individuals qualify for disability benefits, particularly when they don't meet the strict criteria outlined in the Blue Book. 

Purpose of an RFC: 

The RFC form serves as a comprehensive assessment tool to demonstrate the impact of thyroid conditions on an individual's ability to function in daily life and work. When completing this form, your physician should note any limitations you face due to your thyroid condition. 

Examples of Limitations: 

  • Swollen legs and fatigue: If these symptoms limit your ability to stand or sit for prolonged periods, it should be clearly indicated on the RFC. These limitations directly relate to your capacity to perform work-related tasks. 
  • Extreme pain and medication effects: If you experience extreme pain requiring medication, your physician should note whether the medication causes confusion or drowsiness, as these side effects can hinder your ability to continue working. 

Meeting Disability Criteria with an RFC: 

An RFC can be instrumental in securing benefits even if you don't meet the SSA’s Blue Book requirements for thyroid disorders. Your physician's detailed documentation of symptoms and limitations is crucial in this process. 

Examples of Specific Symptoms: 

  • Hypothyroidism: If you suffer from symptoms such as swollen legs, severe pain, and fatigue that prevent you from standing for more than 2 hours without repositioning, these should be clearly specified on the RFC. 
  • Hyperthyroidism: If symptoms include irritability, muscle weakness, and tremors to the extent that you cannot grasp items or work with others, these details should be specified on the RFC. 

Considerations Beyond Medical Condition: 

In addition to your medical condition, the SSA considers other factors when evaluating your RFC, including your age, past work experience, transferable skills, and education level. A thoroughly completed RFC can significantly influence the determination of whether you are approved for disability benefits. 

Applying Specific Medical Tests to Qualify for Thyroid Disability Benefits

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 disability, the more documentation you provide, the better it is for getting your claim settled in your favor. 

You may be able to get disability with a thyroid gland disorder

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. 

What To Do If You Are Denied Thyroid Benefits

If your initial claim is denied and you are denied disability, the first thing to know is that there is no need to panic. As of April 2023, the average national approval rate for initial disability applications is only 38%—meaning that 62% of all initial disability applications get denied. As such, there is a higher chance that you will be denied initially and need to file an appeal compared to getting approved initially. 

The good news is that the approval rate for disability appeals goes up significantly. This is because people who appeal their initial disability denials tend to submit a better and stronger application the second time around. More specifically, people typically include more information in their revised applications to support their claims—ultimately making it easier to be approved later on. 

You have 60 days to appeal the SSA’s decision, which means you need to act fast once you receive notice that your claim was denied. There are several stages of the appeals process and you might find success at any of the levels. 

The first step is to reapply under a “request for reconsideration.” This is the first step of the process and it essentially means that you apply again and hope for another evaluator to read your claim and arrive at a different decision. 

You can either resubmit your initial SSDI application or add more information that might have been missing in the first round. Most claims are denied because they either fail to meet the standards or do not include enough information to support the claim. 

It is in your best interest to take a very close look at your application and make sure that you have as much information as possible included in the application, including any new information about your condition that might have been found while you were waiting for a decision. 

If your request for reconsideration does not yield a favorable result, then you will present your case to an administrative law judge. This is considered the most winnable stage of the appeals process because you have a chance to bring witnesses to speak on your behalf, and you can demonstrate to the judge why you are unable to work because of your condition. The disability hearings have a 62% approval rate. 

After the disability hearing level, there is also the Appeals Council or an appeal to a federal court. The Appeals Council has an approval rate of about 13% while a federal appeal has a 40% approval rate. 

The appeals process can be difficult to navigate alone, or even with the help of family and friends. You might consider hiring a Social Security disability advocate or disability lawyer to help you through the process. 

Further Reading: Signs That You Will Be Denied For Disability 

How to Increase Your Chances of Approval for Thyroid Disease Benefits 

The number one question that people who apply for Social Security disability benefits ask is how to make sure that their application stands the best chance of being approved. 

The most important thing to remember is that you need to provide as much information as possible in your claim because the Social Security evaluators are only seeing you on paper. In other words, Social Security evaluators do not know who you are or how your condition is actually affecting you beyond what is stated in the Blue Book regarding your diagnosis and the information you provided them with in your claim. 

Therefore, to successfully paint an accurate picture of your situation, you need to include all applicable medical information. You need a report from your doctor that details your diagnosis, all of the test results that were used to arrive at your diagnosis, and your treatment plan. 

Your treatment plan should outline any medication you are taking along with any side effects you are experiencing as a result of your treatment. In many cases, you could suffer from side effects from your condition and your treatment, so it is important to include all of that information in your application. 

It is also important to look at your work history to ensure that you have enough work credits to apply for disability benefits. Generally, you need 40 work credits to apply for disability.  

Further Reading: Signs Your Disability Claim Will Be Approved 

Thyroid Gland Disorders That Qualify For Disability Benefits

Thyroid disorders, including Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's Disease, and Grave's Disease, can significantly impact an individual's health and daily functioning. While these conditions may not be explicitly listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, individuals suffering from them may still qualify for disability benefits. This is particularly relevant when the disorders lead to severe impairments that affect a person's ability to work and perform daily tasks. 

Keep reading to find out how Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Disease, and Grave’s Disease can qualify for disability benefits. 


Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive and, thereby, does not make enough of the thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is also called “underactive thyroid.” Treatment for hypothyroidism typically includes taking medication to try and alleviate the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and restore the thyroid’s hormone levels to normal. Lifestyle changes—e.g., having enough iodine (if applicable), maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress levels—may also enable support for your thyroid’s health. That being said, it’s important to understand that, in managing the symptoms of hypothyroidism, lifestyle changes by themselves cannot replace the need for medication. 

Hypothyroidism, often referred to as an "underactive thyroid," arises when the thyroid gland fails to produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormone. This condition can be nuanced, with some individuals not experiencing any noticeable effects after a diagnosis. However, for those who do exhibit symptoms, the impact can be diverse. 

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include a puffy face, sluggishness, weight gain, a persistent feeling of coldness, a slowed heart rate, constipation, episodes of depression, and thinning of the hair. These manifestations underscore the varied ways in which hypothyroidism can affect an individual's well-being. 

Treatment for hypothyroidism typically involves the use of thyroid hormone medication to alleviate symptoms and restore thyroid hormone levels to normal. While lifestyle adjustments, such as ensuring sufficient iodine intake, maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and managing stress levels, can offer support for thyroid health, it's crucial to note that these changes alone cannot replace the necessity for medication in managing hypothyroidism symptoms.   
Hypothyroidism can cause serious complications such as strokes, heart issues, anxiety, depression, or unintended weight loss or gain—all of which can qualify for disability benefits. 

People with hypothyroidism need to be able to recognize the potential severity of their condition and its potential implications for their daily functioning. This is because hypothyroidism can qualify for Social Security disability benefits if it’s severe enough to impact a person’s ability to work and perform daily tasks. 

Hashimoto’s Disease 

Hashimoto's Disease, a thyroid gland disorder, is not explicitly listed in the SSA’s Blue Book—the SSA’s list of conditions that qualify for disability benefits. Despite this, individuals with Hashimoto's Disease may still be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if it inhibits their ability to engage in full-time work. 

While the SSA's Blue Book lacks specific listings for thyroid gland disorders, including Hashimoto's Disease, individuals with such disorders can still potentially qualify for disability benefits. If you have Hashimoto's Disease and are seeking disability benefits, the SSA will assess your case to determine if it aligns with other relevant listings in the Blue Book. 

For instance, thyroid gland disorders, like Hashimoto's Disease, impact the sympathetic nervous system and normal metabolism. If you've experienced thyroid-related changes in blood pressure or heart rate, the SSA will evaluate your case under the Cardiovascular System section of the Blue Book. 

In cases where Hashimoto's Disease has resulted in a stroke (a fairly common occurrence), the SSA will assess your eligibility under the Neurological Disorders section of the Blue Book. 

Moreover, if Hashimoto's Disease has led to symptoms such as mood disorders and anxiety, these aspects will be considered under the Mental Disorders section of the SSA's Blue Book. The Mental Disorders section covers a range of conditions affecting mental health, and the evaluation criteria can be found on the SSA's Blue Book page for Mental Disorders disabling conditions

If you believe your Hashimoto's Disease substantially impairs your ability to work, it's essential to consult the SSA's guidelines and seek professional assistance to navigate the disability application process effectively. 

Grave’s Disease 

Graves' disease is an immune system disorder that causes an overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). While several disorders can cause hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease stands out as a prevalent contributor. 

The impact of thyroid hormones extends to various body systems—resulting in a diverse array of signs and symptoms associated with Graves' disease. While this condition can affect individuals of any gender, it is more frequently observed in women and tends to manifest in individuals under the age of 40. 

Graves' Disease, a thyroid disorder, is not specifically listed in the SSA’s Blue Book of disabling conditions. However, individuals with Graves' Disease may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if the condition gives rise to other impairments, such as an irregular heartbeat. 

While Graves' Disease alone is not classified as a disability by the SSA, the associated impairments it causes could make an individual eligible for Social Security disability benefits. To qualify, individuals must meet the requirements outlined in the Blue Book, which catalogs disabling conditions for Social Security disability benefits. 

Graves' Disease can lead to additional impairments that the SSA recognizes as disabilities. While the disease itself may not be sufficient for qualification, the secondary impairments it causes could make an individual eligible for benefits. 

To qualify, your Graves' Disease-related disability must be severe enough to render you unable to work for at least one year. Once you meet the medical criteria specified in the Blue Book, you must also satisfy the work requirements outlined by the SSA to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. 

Meeting the work requirements involves earning a sufficient number of work credits, with individuals able to accrue up to four work credits per year that they work. If you satisfy both the medical and work requirements, the SSA will consider you disabled, and you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. 

Can You Get Disability For Thyroid Removal?

A thyroid removal, also known as Thyroidectomy, is the removal of all or part of you thyroid gland. It can occur when someone has thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism or thyroid nodules. There are three types of thyroidectomy:

  • Hemithyroidectomy: When one lobe of your thyroid is removed. 
  • Isthumsectomy: When the thyroid tissue between two lobes is removed. 
  • Open Thyroid Biopsy: When a thyroid nodule is removed directly.

Before the surgery, your doctor will conduct a series of imaging and tests to determine if you need a thyroidectomy and which type of thyroidectomy is needed. A thyroidectomy may be recommended in instances like:

  • A growth (nodule) on your thyroid that could be cancerous.
  • A nodule that presses on your esophagus or trachea, impacting your ability to breathe or swallow.
  • A nodule resulting in hyperthyroidism.

After your thyroid is removed, you may still be eligible for disability benefits. For example, you may still be eligible if you were diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had your thyroid removed as a result but your cancer had spread to other locations. Additionally, if getting your thyroid removed, or part of your thyroid, did not help improve your condition, or even worsened it, you may be eligible for disability.  

Get a Free Disability Evaluation - Earn up to $3,345 Per Month! 

If you are suffering from thyroid gland disorder, and are thinking about applying for Social Security benefits, talk with a Social Security attorney or advocate. A disability lawyer or advocate is an invaluable resource for you during this process. A disability lawyer can also tell you how much disability you can get

For an exact estimate of how much money you could earn each month in disability benefits for a thyroid gland disorder, use our Social Security Benefits Calculator

Social Security attorneys are only paid on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win. They can help you get all of your paperwork together and make the application process much easier. 

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