Lyme disease can be a debilitating condition for people who don’t catch it in the early stages. This disease can make it difficult to go to work or even stay awake throughout the day, and some people with it might have difficulties paying bills without some form of support. For instance, people who are unable to work because of Lyme disease might need disability insurance to help them pay for their everyday needs. In cases like these, applying for SSDI benefits might be the best way to receive valuable benefits that can help them pay their bills until they’ve recovered.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease, also called borrelia, for the borrelia burgdorferia bacteria that causes Lyme disease, is a condition that spreads most often to people through tick bites.
It’s a fairly common disease that affects more than 200,000 people every year. If caught early, the disease can be treatable, but the symptoms often become harder to manage the longer that a person goes without diagnosis and treatment.
There are three stages with Lyme disease, including early localized, early dissemination, and late dissemination. While there are three stages, not everyone goes through all of them. The earlier that a person is treated, the more likely that they can avoid some of the later stages that have more severe symptoms. In fact, getting treatment for Lyme disease early is critical because, when left untreated, the illness can become a life-long struggle.
One of the biggest risk factors for Lyme disease is living and walking in an area that will likely have mosquitoes that are carrying the Lyme disease bacteria. Certain areas of the country are more likely to have mosquitoes that carry the bacteria, so people should check their area to determine whether or not mosquitoes in their area are known to infect people.
To lessen the likelihood of being bitten by a mosquito that carries the disease, people should wear long-sleeve shirts and high socks with pants to lessen the likelihood that they can get into their clothing.
The longer that a tick is attached to the skin, the more likely it is that the person will get Lyme disease. For instance, if the tick is removed in less than 48 hours, the likelihood that the person who was bitten will get Lyme disease is very low.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
The symptoms that a person who has been bitten by a tick and infected with the bacteria will vary depending on how long it’s been since their infection. People who have only had the disease for 3 to 30 days often experience a rash around the site of the tick bite, but there are some people who will not experience this rash. People who have been walking in the woods and notice a rash that is up to 12 inches across. This rash might also form in a bullseye pattern.
Some other symptoms will likely begin to show several days to several months after the tick bite if the disease goes untreated. For instance, some people might begin to notice that they get symptoms like headaches, neck pain and stiffness, swollen knees and other swollen joints, accompanied by arthritis symptoms. Some people will also experience facial palsy, which is a facial droop and loss of muscle tension, on one or both sides of the face. Shooting pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the hands and feet are also common, and some people might experience shortness of breath or heart palpitations. Pain in the muscles, tendons, joints, and bones are also common.
Some less common symptoms that can show up a couple of weeks after the initial bite include eye inflammation, liver inflammation, severe fatigue, and heart problems, such as an irregular beat.
Treatment for Lyme Disease
Most people who receive treatment will recover within a few weeks, but for some people, it might be six or more months before they feel back to their normal selves. Additionally, the sooner a person is treated, the more likely that they’ll make a quick recovery.
There are a few types of medications that will be administered after diagnosis, and the amounts will vary according to the age of the person receiving treatment. Doxycycline, cefuroxime, and amoxicillin are three medications that are used with both adults and children.
There are some people who find out that they don’t tolerate amoxicillin, cefuroxime, or doxycycline. In instances like these, there are a number of other drugs that a doctor can prescribe but aren’t typically used as a first choice because their efficacy isn’t as high as amoxicillin, cefuroxime, and doxycycline. Some of these other possible drugs include azithromycin, clarithromycin, and erythromycin.
Generally speaking, people can be cured of Lyme disease within two to four weeks of starting a plan of oral antibiotics.
Another option is for a doctor to administer intravenous antibiotics. This method is often used when the disease is affecting the central nervous system. Usually, this course of treatment will last anywhere from 14 to 28 days, which should usually take care of the infection, but it might take even more time for the person to fully recover.
Disability Benefits for Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be debilitating, and it can make going to work difficult or even impossible. Since the symptoms of Lyme disease can last for a month or more and a person can have several times where the disease rebounds after a remission, getting the disability benefits that a person needs can be difficult. Anyone who is experiencing complications from their infection with the Lyme disease bacteria should find out whether or not they qualify for SSDI benefits for Lyme disease.
There are several criteria that a person must meet in order to qualify disability benefits, and since there isn’t a specific listing for Lyme disease in the SSA Blue Book, people who wish to receive benefits must qualify under a different listing. For instance, many people with Lyme disease experience cardiovascular damage, which is listed in the Blue Book. Some other ways that people with Lyme disease can apply for benefits include mobility issues caused by musculoskeletal issues, anxiety or cognitive issues caused by the disease, or inflammatory arthritis caused by Lyme disease.
Another option is to qualify for benefits through a medical vocational allowance by undergoing a residual functional capacity test. With this type of assessment, the applicant sends in a list of activities that they can’t do because of the disease. Then, the SSA will determine what work the applicant could do based on the activities they can do and the types of jobs they’ve had in the past. If there isn’t anything that matches with their skills and abilities, then the applicant might be awarded a disability claim.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Lyme Disease, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.