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By Diana Wade
Disability Advocate 

Can Hidradenitis Suppurativa qualify for Social Security Disability?

Ask the Advocate


February 16, 2019

Diana Wade

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a serious skin disease that tragically is often misdiagnosed. Because HS usually begins as pimple-like bumps on the skin, many victims (and doctors, too) think their condition is acne, ingrown hair, or boils. As the disease worsens, the pimple-like bumps most commonly erupt in the underarm or groin areas-places that everyday pimples typically do not appear-and grow deep into the skin becoming very painful. To make matters worse, they often rupture, leaking bloodstained pus.

Social Security defined HS under Listing 8.06 Hidradenitis Suppurativa, with extensive skin lesions involving both axillae, both inguinal areas or the perineum that persist for at least three months despite continuing treatment as prescribed.

Some medical experts say that HS is relatively rare, affecting maybe one to two percent of Americans. The actual number of those living with the disease may be way underreported, because those with HS are often embarrassed to talk about their condition. Not only are the areas of the body where the disease strikes highly personal, but for some individuals, there is a foul odor associated with the condition.

There is no cure for HS, but some who have the disease can experience long periods of remission. For others, however, their life may be characterized by constant pain and ever-worsening symptoms. If your HS prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration recognizes HS as a disease that can be potentially disabling. In determining your eligibility for benefits the SSA will evaluate the extent of your skin lesions, how often you have flare-ups, how your symptoms, especially pain, limit you, what treatment you are receiving and how your treatment affects you.

Social Security will look at the diagnosis and then determine if HS is severe enough to prevent ordinary work on a regular and sustained basis. A "regular and continuing basis" means eight hours a day, for five days a week or an equivalent work schedule. The claimant must have both the mental and physical abilities to perform sustained work activities. When the evidence supports a finding that the claimant has had a substantial loss of ability to meet the demands of basic work-related activities on a sustained basis, the unskilled sedentary occupational base is significantly eroded, and a finding of disability is justified under the Social Security Rules.

An Accredited Disability Representative with more than 20 years experience, Diana Wade believes her clientele can be comfortable knowing that she is recognized by SSA and a charter member of NADR. To contact Ms. Wade call (661) 821-0494, email [email protected] or visit


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