Can you get Social Security Disability benefits for EDS?

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or EDS, is actually a group of genetic disorders that cause problems with your connective tissues. That's a big deal because connective tissues are a major part of the support for your skin, joints, muscles, bones and internal organs.

But is EDS disabling under Social Security's rules? Some people with EDS can qualify for Social Security Disability. Some can't. Here's why:

EDS has several different forms. Plus, each victim of EDS can have a broad array of symptoms that are uniquely limiting.

Some people with EDS may function fairly normally -- aside from having overly flexible joints that seem to annoyingly pop in and out of place at random. Other people may have severe symptoms of EDS that are actually quite limiting, like:

  • Intense joint pain: That hyper-flexibility is rarely a blessing, especially as you age. EDS can be the cause of chronic joint pain that doesn't respond to ordinary treatment very well.
  • Skin disorders: EDS patients often have problems with their skin. They may not heal very well or might suffer painful and limiting scars from just about any wound and be prone to infection through the constant tears in their skin.
  • Vascular symptoms: Some people with EDS have significant vascular problems that can affect their heart, damage their intestines and cause other serious complications.

While Social Security doesn't specifically list EDS as a disabling condition, you can get your claim approved:

  • Having your doctor's support when you file. Your doctor's opinion (and careful note-taking) can be useful when building your case for benefits.
  • Carefully explaining how your condition limits you. You can't assume that the disability examiner understands anything about the practical concerns of coping with EDS. The more specific you are about your limitations, the better.
  • Having an organized file. Sometimes, benefits get denied simply because the claims examiner misses important information. A well-organized file can paint a picture in words and help the examiner see the bigger picture.

If you want your Social Security Disability claim to be approved, it may be time to talk to someone with experience in these issues.

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