When an individual develops a skin disorder or receives a serious injury to their skin, it can be debilitating and affect one’s ability to do perform their job duties at work. If this happens, the financial repercussions can be devastating. In the cases of more serious skin disorders or injuries, a worker may be able to qualify for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Social Security Disability offers benefits to workers whose injuries or impairments prevent them from working over a long period of time or permanently inhibit their ability to work at all.
To qualify for SSD benefits, a worker typically must have contributed to the program for at least seven years of their working lives. Social Security Disability is a federal program that is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and which is funded by contributions made through FICA payroll withholding. In order for a worker to receive benefits through the program, the disorder or injury must fall within the specific government guidelines set forth by the SSA.
The guidelines catalog several discrete skin disorders that will qualify, such as a severe burn or chronic dermatitis, however even an unlisted skin condition may be eligible for SSD benefits if it meets certain thresholds. A skin disorder or injury will be assessed for the purposes of a benefits determination by evaluating how it affects normal function, whether the condition is acute or chronic, and whether the condition is amenable to treatment.
These determinations will be made by examining the relationship between the functions that the disorder inhibits and what functions are needed to perform job duties. For example, in making an eligibility determination, SSA may assess how often the disorder flares up, how much pain it causes and across how much of the body skin lesions extend. Severe burns, skin disorders that affect the palms of hands or foot soles, or those that inhibit the mobility of joints are examples of disorders that could qualify for SSD benefits. All SSDI claims must be substantiated with documented medical evidence.
Source: SSA.gov, “8.00 Skin Disorders – Adult,” accessed on May 15, 2018.