An estimated 20 million Americans have a thyroid disorder, according to the American Thyroid Association. Alarmingly, 60 percent of those with a thyroid disorder are unaware they have the condition.
A thyroid disorder can affect every cell, tissue, and organ in the body and cause significant health problems. For some with a thyroid disorder, their health problems can become so great they interfere with their ability to work.
If you have a thyroid disorder and it interferes with your ability to work, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.
What is a Thyroid Disorder?
The thyroid is a gland in the neck that produces hormones that manage the body’s weight and metabolism. There are 2 main thyroid disorders that can cause complications in the body.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough of its hormone. The lack of hormone can cause the following complications:
- difficulty concentrating
- body pain
- swollen legs
- dry skin
- increased weight
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too much of its hormone. The excess amount of hormone can cause the following complications:
- nervousness and anxiety
- racing heart
- muscle weakness
- hair loss
- weight loss
SSDI and Thyroid Disorders
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a 5 step process they use to determine a claimant’s eligibility for SSDI benefits. Those filing an SSDI claim for thyroid disorders must go through the following process:
- Determine if the claimant is working at or above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level as defined by the SSA in the year they file. The SGA level for 2017 is a monthly income of $1170.
- Determine if the claimant’s complications from their thyroid disorder significantly limit their ability to perform basic work activities such as:
- pulling or pushing
- lifting or carrying
- simple cognitive reasoning
- Determine if complications from the claimant’s thyroid disorder meet the criteria outlined in the SSA’s impairments list.
Neither of the thyroid disorders has a specific listing on the impairments list. But, there are several listings that involve complications caused by thyroid disorders. Some of the more common thyroid complications and how the SSA evaluates them include:
- Listing 4.00, Cardiovascular System, assesses thyroid-related heart problems.
- Listing 5.08, Digestive Systems, addresses thyroid-related weight loss.
- Listing 11.04, Central Nervous System Vascular Accidents assesses thyroid-related neurological complications such as strokes.
- Listing 12.00, Mood Disorders addresses thyroid-related complications such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive issues.
- Listing 13.09, Malignant Neo-Plastic Diseases, Thyroid, addresses thyroid cancer.
- Determine if the claimant can still do any work they may have done in the past despite the complications caused by their thyroid disorder.
- Determine if the claimant can do any other type of work based upon their:
- prior work experience
- mental and physical capabilities
Getting help with Your Claim
Do you have a thyroid disorder? Does it significantly complicate your work ability? You could be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
But, getting approved for benefits because of a thyroid disorder can be complicated. You must have detailed medical records of how your thyroid disorder has affected your health and complicated your daily life and work capabilities.