Social Security Disability for Lyme Disease | ProHealth Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Lyme Disease Forums

Social Security Disability for Lyme Disease

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Lily Silver

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If anyone ever tells you that you can’t get approved for Social Security disability if you have Lyme Disease, or you can’t get approved in less than two years, just tell them to go talk to Daisy, Sweet Pea, Jasmine and Poppy.

Sweet Pea Got Approved in Four Months

Sweet Pea got approved for Lyme Disease, Encephalopathy, chronic head and neck pain, and cognitive difficulties. Click above to read Sweet Pea's story.

Jasmine Got Approved in Six Months

Jasmine was diagnosed with Lyme. She got approved for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Poppy Got Approved in Ten Months

Poppy was diagnosed with Lyme. She got approved for Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia.

Daisy Got Approved with a Doctor's Letter

Daisy was diagnosed with Lyme. She got approved for Fibromyalgia, Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Bursitis, Orthostasis, and Chronic Fatigue.

If Daisy, Sweet Pea, Jasmine and Poppy can do it, you can too! Here's how:

Getting Started

If you are filing a new application or waiting for your first decision, please take a look here for info on how to have the best possible application and best chance to be approved early.

Function Form

One of the most helpful documents you can get is an RFC function form. While you are out getting your RFC, be sure to keep an eye on How To Avoid Function Form Mistakes

Doctor's Letter

If your doctor is also willing to write a letter for you, you may also find Connie’s Lyme Disease Letter to be very helpful. If you are planning to request a letter from your doctor please take a look here: How to Get a Great Letter from Your Doc and especially here: How to Avoid a Bad Letter from Your Doctor


Scientific Research

Some people suggest that if Lyme is your primary diagnosis it may be helpful to include with your application some peer-reviewed information about Chronic Lyme. Sending this type of information is unusual for Social Security application, however Lyme is an unusual situation because there are no Social Security guidelines. If you decide to enclose something like this, I would suggest finding one or two reports that are relevant to your medical evidence and come from well-established, peer-reviewed scientific sources.

Throw Everything at It

Unfortunately, Social Security does not have any listings or rulings for Lyme Disease. Fortunately, many people with Lyme Disease get approved anyway! It is recommended to include and document all conditions that affect your ability to function in any way. Common other conditions for Lymies: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Neurological Disorders, Cardiovascular / Heart problems, Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Mental Disorders.

Lawyers & Representatives

I have mixed feelings about lawyers. From what I have seen, when Lyme patients leave everything up to a lawyer, it usually takes 2-3 years to get approved and it doesn't always work. On a happier note: Whether or not you have a lawyer, there are many great things you can do yourself that can make a big difference in your case. If you'd like a lawyer, it won't hurt, it could help, and it usually won't cost you anything upfront. Learn more: How to Get a Lawyer or How to Not Get a Lawyer


Please Don't Kill Me

I know you do not want to kill your application. But some people do it without meaning to. Let's take a look: How to Kill Your Social Security Application


Include Mental Health

Especially include mental health, depression and psychological struggles, even if these are not your primary condition. (Exception: If you are also applying for disability through your employer please read more before including mental health).


Describing Lyme

Whenever you speak with your doctor or fill out a disability form, it's important to describe how your symptoms are affecting your ability to work and function. You may find it helpful to read this article on applying for disability with Lyme or this article on applying for disability with Lyme.
Other conditions

If you have been diagnosed with more than one condition (and haven't we all by now?), you might consider collecting more evidence on some of your other conditions to strengthen your application. Many people are approved for a combination of several different impairments.

  • Neurological Problems - Many people report success after getting neurological or neuropsychiatric testing. Sadly, these tests are often not covered by insurance. If you are experiencing significant problems with memory, concentration and focus, you can speak with your doctor about getting a referral for testing.
  • Mental Illness - Seeing a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist can make a big difference in mental health claims. If you are experiencing depression or other mental health symptoms, it may be a great help to your case if you begin seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist. (A counselor or therapist is not the same).
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Lily Silver

How to Create a Great Application No Matter What

At the end of the day, your diagnosis really does not matter that much. What matters is the severity of your symptoms and how they keep you from being able to work and function. No matter what your diagnosis is, there are a TON of things you can do to greatly improve your chances of winning.

In addition to the function forms and letters mentioned above, you can also help your case a great deal by having great doctor visits that create great records and learning The Golden Rules of Records

The SOAR program is a huge help with disability applications for people who are homeless or at-risk for becoming homeless. Most SOAR programs require a diagnosis of serious mental illness, but some programs do not require this. They provide wonderful help and have truly amazing success rates.

No matter what condition you apply for, it is always a big help if your doctor is an acceptable medical source. I can't tell you how many people I have met who stayed with the wrong kind of doctor for months or years because their lawyer never told them this. This especially happens to Lymies who go to Naturopathic Doctors. Please see the right kind of doctor now to avoid heartbreak later.

Keep Hope Alive

Don't give up hope! Just get scrappy and get creative and get persistent. It is totally possible to get on disability after you have been diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Putting that bit of extra effort into your application can make a big difference. Here are a few super cool success stories from super cool people just like you!