Social Secuity has special rules for evaluating the severity of skin lesions such as ichthyosis, bullous diseases, chronic infections of the skin or mucous menranes, dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurative, genetic photosensitivity disorders, and burns. SSA recognizes that these disorders may result in marked and longstanding disability, particularly if they involve extensive body parts, critical areas such as the hands or feet, or if they are resistant to treatment. SSA also recognizes that some of these disorders cause pain, and that the pain may result in disability.
For most skin disorders to be considered
disabling, they must be shown to have persisted for
at least 3 months after administration of appropriate treatment. Some of these disorders respond only to high doses of medications
with possible serious side effects that can contribute to disability.
Some skin disorders involve other body systems. Even if the skin lesions are not severe, the effect of the underlying disease on another body system may be. For example, a condition known as tuberous sclerosis affects the brain and produces seizures and/or mental retardation. SSA evaluates the disorder primarily on the basis of the severity of these symptoms, rather than the skin lesions themselves.
Like claims based onother disorders that are not commonly seen in a disability practice, claims based on skin disorders can stand or fall depending on a lawyer's ability to understand and analyze all these factors, and the skill with which he or she obtains and presents relevant evidence to SSA.