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What Endocrine Disorders Qualify For Social Security Disability?


Endocrine disorders represent a major group of qualifying disabilities under the Social Security Disability (SSD) rules. The endocrine system is on of the most important systems in the human body and plays a major role in the proper functioning of our bodies throughout our life. In this blog post, we’ll discuss each of the endocrine gland complexes and the illness and diseases that qualify for both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Endocrine Glands

The endocrine system is made up of a group of glands the secret hormones into the bloodstream to be carried throughout the body and to affect various organs. In a properly operating endocrine system, each respective gland releases the proper amount of hormone to create a balance in the way our body functions.

These glands control our mood, our growth and development, the way each of our organs work, how our metabolism functions, and our reproduction system. The major glands of the endocrine system are the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and pancreas. When one or more of these glands provides too little of the hormone (hypofunction) or too much of the hormone (hyperfunction), then serious and disabling illness and disease can occur.

The degree to which each of these endocrine disorders “disables” the individual suffering the condition determines whether they will qualify for SSD or SSI benefits. To qualify, the disorder on which the disability claim is based must be “a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that lasts or is expected last at least 12 months and prevents the person from performing substantial gainful activities (earn an income of at least $1,350 per month). If severe enough to fit those criteria, there are a list of endocrine disorders that will qualify for disability benefits.

Endocrine Disorders That Do Qualify for Social Security Disability

We’ll look at each endocrine gland and address the illness and diseases related to it that qualify for disability.

Thyroid — The thyroid gland releases hormones that control a person’s metabolism. The hormones impact the way your body uses energy, your heartrate and breathing are among the most vital functions it affects. Thyroid related impairments qualifying for Social Security include congestive heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, osteoporosis, heightened anxiety, and others.

You will notice that the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) assessment for each illness is centered on how the malfunctioning endocrine gland is affecting the claimant’s condition. A stroke victim will be reviewed according to neurological criteria, and congestive heart failure according to cardiac criteria, and anxiety according to mental illness criteria.

Adrenal — The adrenal gland also has a powerful impact on the body’s functions. The hormones secreted by the adrenal gland affect blood pressure, the release of insulin, adrenalin and noradrenalin, the level of electrolytes in the blood, as well as testosterone. An imbalance in the function of the adrenal gland can lead to diabetes mellitis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, arrythmia, etc.

Just as thyroid-related symptoms are manifested in the failure of other organs, so to will adrenal gland disorders cause cardiac issues that will be assessed by the criteria used to evaluate the severity of heart failure, osteoporosis will be viewed as a musculoskeletal disorder and assessed by the degree to which it limits the claimant’s mobility, strength, and inability to perform work on a regular, persistent basis.

Parathyroid — The parathyroid gland’s hormone affects the level of calcium in bones, nerves, muscles, blood, and other tissues throughout the body. The impact of parathyroid-related disorders shows in the development of cataracts, kidney failure, nervous disorders, muscle spasms. The degree to which each claimant’s symptoms disrupt their daily life and their ability to engage in regular employment is the key to when parathyroid-related disabilities are severe enough to qualify for SSD benefits.

Pancreas — Pancreatic illnesses, diseases, and disorders are all included as qualifying impairments that will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if the claimant’s case meets the level of severity required. For example, diabetes is clearly among the disabling impairments listed if severe complications persist despite the claimant following their doctor’s recommendations, including taking prescribed medication and adopting lifestyle modifications. If the claimant’s diabetes complications persist largely due to the person’s failure to control their diet, they may find winning benefits difficult.

However, even if a claimant’s case does not fit within the criteria neatly, the SSA will perform a secondary analysis of the person’s Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). When the RFC analysis is performed, the SSD looks at the individual claimant’s age, education, work history and acquired job skills, all their medical records, and how well they cope wit their activities of daily living.

If it appears that the person’s current abilities and history prevent them from being likely to perform any work with their impairment, then they may still win approval of SSD benefits.

Pituitary Gland — The pituitary gland is the main gland in the endocrine system, and it controls many bodily functions. When the pituitary gland is not performing properly, it affects the way other endocrine glands work. The pituitary gland secretes a growth hormone that regulates a person’s body tissues and distributes fat. It also produces a hormone that causes cortisol release from the adrenal gland. ACTH is a hormone that signals the body to respond to stress, while it also impacts blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Pituitary disorders can show in the dysregulation of reproductive hormones.

As with all endocrine system disorders, the impact of the disorder is assessed by the symptoms created in the other organs and systems in the body.

If you or someone in your family is suffering with an endocrine system disorder that is preventing you from engaging in normal daily activities, contact us at London Disability. Our highly trained disability advocates and attorneys can help you get all the benefits to which you are entitled.

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