How to Document Lyme Disease

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Artwork by Elizabeth D’Angelo

If anyone ever tells you that you can’t get approved for Social Security disability if you have Lyme Disease, just tell them to go talk to Daisy, Sweet Pea, Jasmine and Poppy.

Sweet Pea Got Approved in Four Months

Sweet Pea got approved for Lyme Disease, Encephalopathy, chronic head and neck pain, and cognitive difficulties. Click above to read Sweet Pea’s story.

Jasmine Got Approved in Six Months 

Jasmine was diagnosed with Lyme. She got approved for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Poppy Got Approved in Ten Months

Poppy was diagnosed with Lyme. She got approved for Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia.

Daisy Got Approved with a Doctor’s Letter

Daisy was diagnosed with Lyme. She got approved for Fibromyalgia, Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Bursitis, Orthostasis, and Chronic Fatigue.

If Daisy, Sweet Pea, Jasmine and Poppy can do it, you can too!


Sleepy Girl Tips for Documenting Lyme Disease

🌺 As you can see, many people with Lyme Disease don’t get approved for Lyme. They get approved for something else, or for a combination.

🌺 At the end of the day, your diagnosis really does not matter that much. No matter what your diagnosis is, there are a TON of things you can do to improve your application. If you want to learn more about how to apply and how to get approved, head on over to: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability

 🌺 If your doctor is willing to write a letter for you, you may find Connie’s Lyme Disease Letter to be helpful.

🌺 Social Services Connections for Lyme Disease is a great Facebook group for Lymies seeking disability and other services.

🌺 Unfortunately, Social Security does not have any listings or rulings for Lyme Disease. Fortunately, many people with Lyme Disease get approved anyway! It is recommended to include and document all conditions that affect your ability to function in any way.

🌺 Common other conditions for Lymies: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Neurological Disorders, Cardiovascular / Heart problems, Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Mental Disorders.

🌺 Especially include mental health, depression and psychological struggles, even if these are not your primary condition. Sometimes people with Lyme disease are approved based on mental health, especially if Lyme has caused cognitive or neurological problems.

🌺 Even though I just told you to include mental health, I should also let you know that there are two drawbacks: 1) If you are also applying for disability through your employer, mental health may cause problems, please read more. 2) If mental health is one of the conditions you are approved for, Social Security will expect you to stay in mental health treatment for as long as you are on disability.

🌺 Whenever you speak with your doctor or fill out a disability form, it’s important to describe how your symptoms are affecting your ability to work and function. You may find it helpful to read this article on applying for disability with Lyme or this article on applying for disability with Lyme.

🌺 Some people suggest that if Lyme is your primary diagnosis it may be helpful to include with your application some peer-reviewed information about Chronic Lyme. Sending this type of information is unusual for Social Security application, however Lyme is an unusual situation because there are no Social Security guidelines.

🌺 If you decide to enclose research literature, I would suggest finding something that is relevant to your medical evidence and comes from well-established, peer-reviewed scientific sources.

🌺 There was a recent federal court case where disability benefits were awarded based on Lyme Disease and Bipolar Disorder. This case probably won’t be helpful to most people applying, but there are a few specific circumstances where it could be of some assistance to someone who has Lyme testing and is appealing their case. If you are heading towards a hearing or appeals council, you can try showing your lawyer the federal court ruling to see if it might be helpful in any way.

🌺 Updated March 2017 

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