There is wide confusion about the “Listings”, so a few preliminary comments are in order. In determining whether someone is disabled under the Social Security Act, the social security administration follwos a roadmap called the “Sequential Evaluation Process” . This is a series of 5 questions that are addressed in sequence in determining disability. Sometimes a “yes” or “no” answer ends the inquiry, either in a positve of negative way. For example, the first question in the sequential evaluation process is whether the claimant is working (technically, performing “substantial gainful activity”). If the answer is “Yes” social security will go no further and denial the claim: you can’t work and be disabled at the same time.
But if the claimant is not working (question 1 in the Sequential Evaluation Process) and has a medically severe physical or mental impairment (question 2), question 3 is whether the claimant’s condition “meets or equals” a Listed Impairment, a so-called “Listing”. A Listing is a standard criterion for a given medical condition that, if present, mean automatic approval of social security disability benefits. But a “no” answer to the Listing question does NOT mean the claim is disapproved. Rather it means that social security must move on to question 4 in the Sequential Evaluation Process. this is important to note, because I often speak with people who misuderstand the listings, wrongly concluding that becuase there condition does not meet the Listing that there is no hope of winning a disability case. In fact, most disability cases are not won under a Listing; however, meeting the Listing removes any “wiggle room” for a judge that likes to turn claims down. My staff R.N. and I always carefully review the medical evidence in a Lupus based diability claim for evidence the Listing is met.
So lets look at the listing for Lupus. Rather than risk losing your attention by simply giving you the verbage of the Listed for Lupus as many sites I have seen do, I would like to start with a broad picture of the Lupus listing. There are two main paths under the Lupus listing to a succesful outcome: the first I will call the “organ involvement” route, and other I will call the “constitution systems” route.
Lets look at the unique requirements of each branch, starting with “organ involvement” route. To meet this criterion there must be “involvement of two or more organ/body systems”. At least one organ/body system involvement must be moderate” in “severity”.
Now lets look at the “constitutional symptoms” branch of the Lupus listing. For this route to listing victory there must be “repeated manifestations of Lupus” plus “marked” limitations in of activities of daily living, maintaining social functioning, OR “completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace”.
Both the “organ involvement” and “constitutional systems” branch require at least 2 of the following: (i) severe fatigue, (ii) fever, (iii) malaise, and (iv) involuntary weight .
Now lets go back and flesh out the details, starting with the “organ involvement” branch. What exactly is