Many people refer to systemic lupus erythematosus by the acronym SLE or by the shortened name of lupus. According to the Mayo Clinic, age of onset is usually between the ages of 15 and 45. Lupus more often affects women than men.

SLE is an autoimmune disorder. This means that the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy tissue. If symptoms are severe enough, people with lupus can qualify for Social Security Disability.

What causes lupus?

Some people may have a predisposition to developing SLE in their genetic makeup. However, genetics alone do not appear to cause lupus. Scientists believe that it may require some sort of trigger from the environment to activate the disease. Examples of potential triggers include certain medications, infections and exposure to sunlight.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Because SLE can affect different systems of the body, the symptoms may vary. One of the most characteristic symptoms is a distinctive facial rash resembling a butterfly that spreads over the cheeks and across the bridge of the nose. Other symptoms, called constitutional symptoms, can range in severity and duration:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

When can lupus qualify for Social Security Disability?

A patient with SLE may experience symptom flares that occur repeatedly. In other words, symptoms may subside but keep coming back. According to the Social Security Administration, repeated lupus flares can qualify for SSD if they are severe enough to limit social functioning or activities of daily living and involve constitutional symptoms. Lupus may also qualify for SSD if it is moderately severe, causes constitutional symptoms and involves two or more body systems.