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  • Christopher Le

Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Qualifying for Social Security Disability

Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Qualifying for Social Security Disability

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition characterized by painful lumps under the skin, typically in areas where skin rubs together. These lumps can become inflamed and infected, leading to abscesses and scarring. For individuals suffering from HS, the condition can be both physically debilitating and emotionally taxing. Given its impact on quality of life and daily functioning, many people with HS wonder if they qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This blog will explore whether HS qualifies for these benefits and what steps you can take if you believe you are eligible.

Understanding Social Security Disability and SSI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two federal programs designed to provide financial assistance to individuals with disabilities. SSDI benefits are available to those who have a significant work history and have paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes. SSI, on the other hand, is a needs-based program that provides financial assistance to disabled individuals with limited income and resources, regardless of work history.

Medical Criteria for Disability Benefits

To qualify for SSDI or SSI, an applicant must demonstrate that their condition meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability. The SSA defines a disability as a condition that significantly impairs one's ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) and is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa and SSA’s Blue Book

The SSA maintains a Listing of Impairments, often referred to as the Blue Book, which outlines medical conditions that automatically qualify for disability benefits if certain criteria are met. Hidradenitis Suppurativa is not explicitly listed in the Blue Book, but this does not mean that individuals with HS cannot qualify for disability benefits.

Qualifying for Disability Benefits with Hidradenitis Suppurativa

To qualify for SSDI or SSI with HS, you will need to demonstrate that your condition severely limits your ability to work and perform daily activities. Here are key factors the SSA will consider:

  1. Severity and Frequency of Flare-Ups: Document the frequency and severity of your HS flare-ups, including medical records that describe the pain, inflammation, and limitations caused by the condition.

  2. Functional Limitations: Provide evidence of how HS affects your ability to perform basic work activities, such as standing, walking, lifting, and concentrating. Testimonies from your healthcare providers, as well as personal accounts, can be valuable.

  3. Medical Treatment and Compliance: Show that you have followed prescribed treatments and that, despite these treatments, your condition remains debilitating. This can include medications, surgeries, and other interventions.

  4. Secondary Conditions: If your HS has led to other medical issues, such as depression or anxiety, ensure these are also documented. The SSA will consider the combined impact of all your conditions.

Steps to Applying for Disability Benefits

  1. Gather Medical Documentation: Collect comprehensive medical records, including physician notes, treatment histories, and diagnostic tests.

  2. Complete the SSA Application: Fill out the SSA’s application forms for SSDI or SSI, providing detailed information about your condition and how it affects your daily life.

  3. Consider Legal Assistance: Navigating the disability application process can be complex. A law firm specializing in disability claims can help ensure your application is thorough and properly presented.

  4. Be Prepared for an Appeal: Many initial applications are denied. If this happens, don’t be discouraged. You have the right to appeal the decision, and an attorney can significantly increase your chances of success on appeal.


While Hidradenitis Suppurativa is not explicitly listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, individuals with severe and debilitating cases can still qualify for SSDI or SSI. The key is to provide comprehensive evidence that demonstrates the significant impact HS has on your ability to work and perform daily activities. If you’re considering applying for disability benefits, consult with a legal professional to guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf.

If you or a loved one is struggling with HS and considering applying for disability benefits, contact our law firm for a consultation. We can help you understand your options and work to secure the benefits you deserve.

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