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Social Security Disability Benefits Awarded to Latex Sensitive Nurse

Social Security Disability Benefits Awarded to Latex Sensitive Nurse

Social Security

A former nurse, who was awarded total disability benefits by the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court, was awarded Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits due to her sensitivity to latex products.

Social Security benefits can provide financial assistance to those unable to work due to a medical condition, including allergies. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction that prevents you from working, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have a qualifying medical condition and a good work history. You must have paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes and earned enough work credits. The number of work credits required depends on age and the date you became disabled.

To qualify for SSI benefits, you must have a low income and few assets. SSI is a needs-based program available to those who are disabled, blind, or over 65 and have limited income and resources.

To apply for Social Security benefits, you must provide documentation of your medical condition and work history. This may include medical records, test results, and documentation from your employer. You will also need to provide personal information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth.

If you are approved for Social Security benefits, the amount you receive will depend on your past earnings. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a formula to calculate your benefit amount based on your average earnings over a certain period of time.

It is important to note that applying for and receiving Social Security benefits can be complex and time-consuming. It is a good idea to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney or advocate to help you navigate the process and increase your chances of receiving benefits.

Social Security benefits can provide financial assistance to those unable to work due to an allergic reaction or other medical condition. If you think you may be eligible for benefits, it is worth considering applying for them to help you manage your financial needs during a difficult time.

The Administrative Law Judge in the Social Security action found that the evidence presented in the case rendered a finding of a disability as defined under the Social Security Act. The applicant, who is 35 years of age with 16 years of formal education, offered medical evidence that she sustained an occupational disease, namely, latex allergy. The symptoms that she presented with included urticarial plaques with increasing tightness of the throat and chest within as little as 15 to 20 minutes of her exposure to latex materials. She also suffered general erythema, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and abdominal pain. Her medical management included prescribing an epinephrine pen, maintaining a beta-agonist metered dose inhaler, and Zyrtec daily. Additionally, she was required to wear a Medic Alert bracelet to avoid inadvertent exposure to latex. 
In his report to the court, the treating physician indicated the global presence of latex in today’s society, including clothing, balloons, writing instruments, computer peripherals, medical products, sporting goods, household appliances, motor vehicles, furnishings in the home, and kitchen equipment. While the treating physician opined that she could work in an environment in which she would not be exposed to latex allergens, such a latex “safe” environment does not exist because latex particles often become airborne and circulate through a ventilating system. 
Additionally, the evidence presented by a vocational rehabilitation expert and the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court established that “…all reasonable vocational rehabilitation efforts have been attempted but to no avail.”

The claimant also testified at the hearing that the allergic reaction began in April of 1998 with hives and swelling of her eyes. The symptoms persisted even though she began to wear latex-free gloves in her work environment. The former nurse advised the Administrative Law Judge that limited exposure to grocery shopping in 15-minute increments from 3 to 4 times a week produced adverse reactions consistently. The Administrative Law Judge indicated that it was reasonable to conclude that because of the symptoms associated with her latex allergy, her residual functional capacity for maximum sustained work activity has been reduced to the requirements of sedentary labor at best. However, the Judge indicated that in consideration of the claimant’s need to have a safe work environment because of her latex allergy and the fact that virtually every occupation requires exposure to latex, the “…Claimant’s occupational base for even sedentary labor has been so eroded that a significant number of jobs for her do not exist in the regional economy, and a finding of disability is appropriate….” 
In awarding her disability under the Social Security Act, The Administrative Law Judge additionally awarded her Supplemental Security Income benefits effective the first day of the month following the month of her application. In light of her young age and the potential for medical improvement of her impairment, as medical research may produce alternate treatments, the Judge indicated that she should undergo a residual functional capacity evaluation approximately 24 months from his decision.
The Administrative Law Judge’s favorable decision awarding Social Security Disability benefits to the former nurse provides recognition and credibility to the latex allergy medical condition. Awarding Social Security Disability benefits in cases of latex allergies provides another needed avenue for recovery for those who become latex allergic in addition to the benefits available under State Workers’ Compensation Acts and product liability actions. 

The author, Jon L. Gelman, practices law in Wayne, NJ. He is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L.,  Social Security Disability Benefits Awarded to Nurse Who Became Sensitized to Latex, (1998),

© 1998-2023 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.

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