Lymphedema is a swelling of the limbs due to abnormalities in the lymphatic system, and can occur for a number of reasons. This swelling may restrict a patient’s mobility, cause pain or numbness in the swollen arms or legs, and increase the risk of infection in the affected area.
While there's no cure for the condition, there are a number of treatments that can help a patient cope with the discomfort until the limbs return to normal.
Patients with chronic lymphedema, resulting in recurrent episodes that make it difficult to work, may be able to get Social Security disability for the condition.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits for Lymphedema
Since the conditions in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book are required to last for 12 months or longer, lymphedema doesn't have a dedicated listing.
However, patients with disabling lymphedema may be able to qualify for benefits based on other listings, such as:
- Compassionate Allowance. Children who suffer lymphedema from birth, known as congenital lymphedema, may qualify for faster benefits under the Compassionate Allowance program. However, applicants must meet the medical listing for the congenital form of the disease and provide proof of diagnosis to be approved for benefits.
- Chronic venous insufficiency. Lymphedema in the legs can cause many of the same difficulties as venous insufficiency, most notably pain and difficulty with walking or standing.
- Cancer. Cancer and a variety of cancer treatments (such as chemotherapy) have been known to cause lymphedema. As a result, you may qualify for benefits under the listing for your particular type of cancer.
- Joint dysfunction. Although lymphedema affects the lymphatic system and not the joints themselves, it can still cause a limited range of motion in the joints. Your lymphedema could be medically equivalent to the joint dysfunction listing if the swelling around your knees or elbows makes it difficult for you to perform work tasks.
- Medical vocational allowance. If your condition doesn't match any other listings, you could still collect benefits if the symptoms or treatments prevent you from working. Treatments such as pneumatic compression or compression garments can greatly restrict motion, while surgical intervention to remove tissue from excessive swelling can leave a person unable to work during the extended recovery period.
If you need help getting your Social Security benefits approved, our attorneys can examine your claim and take over the fight on your behalf. Fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up your consultation with a Social Security attorney.