HS Disability Benefits

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: December 2020

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) often begins in puberty. The early age of onset can significantly impact the time of life when a person is often active and most productive. HS can have a far-reaching impact on your career, lifestyle, family, and social life. As the condition progresses, the inflammation of HS can cause significant pain from multiple abscesses on the skin. Inflammatory joint pain and arthritis occurs more frequently in those with HS, also increasing pain and discomfort.1

While there is wide variability in the progression and severity of HS in different people, some people experience significant changes in their pain, mobility, and flexibility. These symptoms may require adaptations or accommodations in your work environment, a change of jobs, or in some cases, applying for disability benefits.

Requesting reasonable accommodations

A reasonable accommodation is a change in the work rules, facilities, or conditions that help you to apply for or maintain a job. These will not only allow you to feel more comfortable, they will also make you a more productive employee. You may also be more likely to continue in the job you were previously performing.2

Because of the nature of the disease, some people may need reasonable accommodations to complete their job duties. Your HS symptoms are unique, and so are your needs. Some examples of reasonable accommodations may include:

  • Padded chair
  • Standing desks
  • Looser-fitting uniform that does not rub on the skin

It is the law for employers to make certain reasonable accommodations for their employees or applicants. Asking can be scary. Understand that your human resources department should be well-versed in this. Be open, honest, and direct about your needs. You do not need to provide full details of your disease. Providing only the reason why you need to have accommodations is enough.

When you cannot work due to HS

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a branch of the United States federal government that provides disability benefits to people who cannot work due to long-term disability. HS is one of the conditions that is recognized by the SSA.3

To apply for benefits, you will need information and several documents, including:4

  • Your social security number (SSN)
  • Your birth certificate
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers for doctors, caseworkers, therapists, hospitals, and clinics where you have been treated
  • Names and dosages of all the medications you take
  • Medical records and lab results
  • Dates you were seen, tested, and/or treated for HS
  • A copy of your most recent W-2 (or most recent tax return if you are self-employed)
  • A summary of where you worked and what kind of work you did, including the dates you started and ended your employment and the tasks you performed in each position

The SSA reviews your application based on:3

  • Severity of your symptoms
  • Frequency of your flare-ups
  • How your symptoms limit you
  • The extent of your treatment
  • How your treatment impacts you

Some people may want to hire a disability lawyer during the disability application process. This process may get complicated and take months to complete, involving denials or an appeal process. Disability lawyers can help ease this process and guide you through the application.

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