These include ichthyosis, bullous disease, chronic infections of the skin and mucous membranes, various forms of dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, genetic photosensitivity disorders, and burns. All of these conditions produce skin lesions that can produce marked and longstanding disability. This is particularly true for lesions that involve extensive body parts, or critical areas such as the hands and feet, or that are resistant to treatment.
For most skin disorders to be considered disabling, they must persist despite appropriate treatment. However, some of the treatments for these disorders involve high levels of medications that can produce serious side effects that can result in 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 can be. For example, a condition known as tuberous sclerosis can affect the brain and other organs, resulting in significant impairment of function that exceeds that attributable to the skin lesions themselves. In cases such as this, one must be prepared to present a multi-functional assessment of disability rather than focusing on the limitations attributable to the lesions alone.
Like disability claims based on other disorders that are not commonly encountered, those involving skin disorders can stand or fall depending on a lawyer’s ability to understand and analyze these factors, and the skill with which he or she presents all of the relevant evidence to a disability carrier.