Depending on the severity of your symptoms, if you have hyperthyroidism, you may qualify for disability.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive. As a result, the thyroid produces more hormones than the body needs.
But this critical gland is tasked with regulating how your body uses energy, which ultimately influences every organ and can lead to side effects like bodily functions being sped up and a metabolism that’s out of balance.
Along with a family history of the condition, people that have other underlying diseases like anemia, type 1 and 2 diabetes, and primary adrenal insufficiency are at higher risk of developing hyperthyroidism.
According to research, hyperthyroidism impacts roughly
Unfortunately, the short answer is that it depends. Hyperthyroidism is a blanket term for an overactive thyroid. But as with many other diseases, hyperthyroidism presents symptoms on a spectrum.
According to the ADA, in order for a condition to qualify as a disability, the individual must experience a physical or mental limitation that otherwise substantially limits daily life. This includes personal and professional interactions.
For a thyroid disorder to qualify as a disability, a person must effectively demonstrate that common symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, stress, or difficulty regulating body temperature are severe enough to interfere with daily life or their ability to manage work-related tasks.
Work accommodations can take many forms, and should be tailored to your specific needs. For example:
- Bathroom breaks: People with various thyroid disorders may need to use the restroom more frequently. As a result, their employer should ensure that adequate breaks are provided.
- Temperature regulation: Someone with hyperthyroidism may frequently feel overheated. If possible, support for adjusting the room temperature may also be required. If uniforms or a dress code are required, accommodations should be made to ensure that the person can comfortably complete their job.
- Movement and support: Fatigue, dizziness, and balance problems are common for those with hyperthyroidism, and this may limit the amount of time you’re able to stand while working. When possible, employers should allow and provide a chair or stool for you as well as breaks for stretching.
Applying for disability can be a long and arduous process, so getting support is a great first step. Talk with your doctor and let them know that you’re pursuing disability. They may be able to point you toward local resources and help you get the documentation you’ll need.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to provide proof that your disorder is severe enough to interfere with daily life and employment before qualifying for financial benefits. Additionally, you must demonstrate that your disease prevents you from effectively completing your work.
During your disability hearing, you may need to provide the court with a variety of documents, like:
- a confirmed diagnosis from your doctor and their contact information
- a completed physical residual functional capacity assessment completed by your doctor
- documentation of your symptoms, treatments, or doctor visits
- your overall medical records and any relevant lab tests
- documentation (possibly with references) of your past employment and how it’s been affected
Once you have all your paperwork together, you can apply with the Social Security office in a few ways:
- in person at your local office (please note that some COVID-19 restrictions may still be in place)
- by online application
- by phone at: (800) 772-1213, or for hard of hearing, TTY (800) 325-0778
You’re eligible to revive benefits 6 months after the social security office determines your disability began.
Living with hyperthyroidism
Keep in mind that, like many diseases, hyperthyroidism is a spectrum. For some people, the condition only requires medication to manage hormone levels. Meanwhile, others may need reasonable accommodations to manage daily life or employment.
But more importantly, the condition can take an emotional toll on those diagnosed with it. Seeking social support is a good idea for learning to cope and live with hyperthyroidism.
- The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has compiled a variety of resources that are condition-specific, along with links to support resources and current clinical trials for the disease.
- The Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation also offers a list of resources, including in-person and virtual support groups, as well as an online community and forum.
- The Society for Endocrinology provides grants and other support for those with Hyperthyroidism and other endocrine disorders.
For many people, hyperthyroidism is a condition that can be well-managed and doesn’t interfere with daily life. But this isn’t the case for everyone.
If an overactive thyroid makes completing daily tasks difficult — especially at work — your condition might qualify as a disability.
Consider speaking with your employer to have accommodations implemented, and also determine whether your disability qualifies for additional assistance from Social Security.