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Chronic Lyme Disease and Social Security Disability

The bite of a tiny deer tick is the source of Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can make life miserable.

The effects of Lyme disease vary greatly from individual to individual and may progressively worsen the longer the condition goes untreated. Diagnosing Lyme disease is tricky since the disease's symptoms and the emergence of a "bull's-eye" rash; to memory loss, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and panic attacks; to severe symptoms affecting the neurological system, heart, eyes, joints, and bladder... among many others.

Lyme disease has the potential to be a major disruption in a person's life if left untreated, or if treatment is delayed. If Lyme disease interferes with your ability to work, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD). Lyme disease dos not have a specific disability listing in SSD's "blue book" of impairments; someone with advanced Lyme disease is far less likely to obtain automatic approval. However, advanced Lyme disease symptoms may fall under blue book listings in the areas of musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, mental, or arthritic disorders.

Even if you don't meet a listing, the limitations placed on you by advanced Lyme disease may preclude your ability to do your job. Social Security will evaluate your impairments and abilities with the residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. They will also evaluate your ability to do other work. If you're not suited for either, you may qualify for SSD benefits.

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