>>Lyme disease is a disorder that can involve a number of different body systems (musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiovascular). And due to the particular nature of lyme disease (exacerbations and remissions), individuals who have lyme disease can face an uphill challenge when they attempt to pursue either social security disability or ssi disability benefits.
Currently, Lyme disease is not listed in the social security administration's impairment listing manual.
Impairments that are listed in this manual, or the blue book as it sometimes called, may potentially qualify an applicant for social security disability benefits. This is, of course, provided that the severity of an individual's condition meets the criteria specified in the manual (which will be indicated in a person's medical records).
However, even though SSA has not included lyme disease as a "listed impairment", sufferers of lyme's may apply for, and potentially win, their ssd (social security disability) or ssi (supplemental security income) disability benefits.
And this is simply for one basic reason, as it relates to the disability claim process: the social security administration does not decide disability claims on the basis of a diagnosis, but, rather, on the restrictions and functional limitations that a person has a result of their medical condition.
Because of this fact, even though lyme disease is not a recognized disorder in the social security administration's impairment listing manual, it becomes especially important for lyme disease sufferers who are applying for disability benefits to do the following, which is simply to : make sure their various treatment sources (doctors, counselors, even physician's assistants) understand how important it is that the medical records and treatment notes that are generated for them include not only a diagnosis, prognosis, and objective observations (vitals, muscle strength, reflexes), but also include "descriptive" indications of the functional limitations they are experiencing as a result of lyme disease.
In other words, if a lyme disease patient is suffering neurological deficits that result in a loss of coordination and balance, this should be noted. If a patient is experiencing a decrease in grip strength in addition to an overall loss of muscle strength, this should be noted. And, certainly, if a lyme disease patient is experiencing mental deficits that lead to memory lapses and disorientation, this should be noted also (even when a disability claimant does not specifically allege a mental impairment, the limitations that result from such an impairment can be considered on a claim---as long as a patient's treatment sources have recorded this information for SSA to evaluate).
Why is this issue (having well documented records) so important? Simply because too many doctors keep progress notes that are "nondescriptive", or, sometimes, even useless. In fact, it is not at all uncommon for a disability claimant, or that claimant's lawyer or non-attorney representative, to request a doctor's medical records and find that the doctor has recorded very little information from each office visit---and hardly any information that was useful from the standpoint of successfully winning an SSD or SSI disability benefit case.
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You might do some searching on the internet for more about it in California. I found this info about a bill that was passed in CA- for people that got it while working:
Existing law provides that an injury of an employee arising out of and in the course of employment is generally compensable through the workers' compensation system. Existing law provides that, in the case of certain law enforcement officers and firefighters, the term "injury" includes heart trouble, hernia, pneumonia, and other injuries and diseases, and establishes a disputable presumption in this regard.
This bill would provide that in the case of certain state law enforcement and California Conservation Corps personnel, the term "injury" also includes Lyme disease that develops or manifests itself during a period while the person is in that service.