Skin Disorders – Dermatitis

According to the National Institutes of Health, dermatitis is a general term that describes an inflammation of the skin. Under this large umbrella there are different types of dermatitis, including seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Although the disorder can have many causes and occur in many forms, it usually involves swollen, reddened and itchy skin.

Each type of dermatitis has distinct signs and symptoms. Common signs and symptoms include: redness, swelling, itching and skin lesions. The Social Security Administration lists dermatitis among the skin disorders that may result from hereditary, congenital, or acquired pathological processes which can be covered under Social Security Disability. Specific forms of dermatitis mentioned by the Administration include psoriasis, dyshidrosis, atopic dermatitis, exfoliative dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis.

Many factors are considered when deciding whether to approve coverage for the disorder. A full evaluation requires information regarding the onset, duration, frequency of flare-ups, and prognosis of your skin disorder; the location, size, and appearance of lesions. Depending on the specific variety of skin disorder, a history of exposure to toxins, allergens, or irritants, familial incidence, seasonal variation, stress factors, and your ability to function outside of a highly protective environment may be considered.

The SSA bases their assessment on the extent of skin lesions, the frequency of flare-ups, how symptoms (including pain) limit you, the extent of treatment for the disorder, and how any treatment affects you. Extensive is defined as those lesions that involve multiple body sites and result in serious limitation. Examples include lesions that interference with motion, lesions on the hands that impair your ability to do fine motor movements and lesions on your feet that hamper your ability to move.

Symptoms, especially pain, are additional important factors that can contribute to the severity of a skin disorder. The SSA also takes into consideration the effects of any medication, therapy, surgery, or any other form of treatment you receive when determining the severity of the disorder. Though skin disorders such as dermatitis frequently respond to treatment, some remedies can actually have side effects that by themselves result in limitations.

Finally, the SSA deems dermatitis disabling and will pass the duration requirement if it results in extensive skin lesions that persist for at least three (3) months despite continuing treatment.

If you think you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits and have questions, give me a call toll free at 800-296-2290 or contact me at tsmith@tedsmithlaw.com.

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