Genetic photosensitivity disorders are categorized as a skin disorder under the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) Listings of Impairments (“listings”). Many types of genetic photosensitivity disorders exist and all may potentially have a disabling effect. For purposes of awarding benefits, the SSA places them in two categories: Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) and basically every other type of disabling photosensitivity condition.

Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) is a genetic photosensitivity disorder which normally arises early in life usually from birth. Like other forms of photosensitivity disorders, it causes an inability to heal from damage caused by the sun’s rays or other ultraviolet light. Some afflicted with this disorder may not have any exposure to sunlight at all. If a claimant has xeroderma pigmentosum, the impairment meets the requirements of clinical and laboratory findings show the presence of a disorder. The SSA treats the condition as existing since birth.

Individuals with XP have a lifelong hypersensitivity to all forms of ultraviolet light causing them to live extremely restricted in highly protective environments to prevent the development of skin cancers. Other effects of XP include eye and neurological problems, mental disorders, and complications in other body systems.

Other genetic photosensitivity disorders may vary in their effects on different individuals, and may not result in an inability to engage in any gainful activity for a continuous period of at least 12 months. Thus, for genetic photosensitivity disorders other than XP, claimants must prove that they have either extensive skin lesions or an inability to function outside of a highly protective environment to meet the applicable requirements. 

The inability to function outside of a highly protective environment refers to a claimant’s necessary avoidance of exposure to ultraviolet light, including sunlight passing through windows and light from unshielded fluorescent bulbs. This means that a claimant must wear protective clothing and eyeglasses and use opaque broad spectrum sunscreens to prevent the occurrence of skin cancer or other serious effects. Some genetic photosensitivity disorders may have very serious effects in other body systems such as special senses and speech, mental, neurological, and cancers (serious neoplastic diseases).

To establish that a claimant has a medically determinable impairment, the SSA requires documentation from an acceptable medical source. This means evidence of appropriate laboratory testing showing that a claimant has XP or another genetic photosensitivity disorder. Any finding of XP or another genetic photosensitivity disorder must be based on a report from an acceptable medical source indicating the existence of the impairment, supported by definitive genetic laboratory studies documenting appropriate chromosomal changes. This includes abnormal DNA repair or another DNA or genetic abnormality specific to the type of photosensitivity disorder.

When the SSA does not have the actual laboratory report, it, instead, will require evidence from an acceptable medical source that includes appropriate clinical findings for the impairment and persuasive that a positive diagnosis has been confirmed by appropriate laboratory testing at some time prior to the SSA’s evaluation. To be persuasive, the report must state that the appropriate definitive genetic laboratory study was, in fact, conducted and that the results confirmed the diagnosis. This report must still be consistent with other evidence in the case file.

Hiring a qualified disability lawyer ensures the proper evaluation of your disability matter. To improve your chances of meeting all of the requirements for the allowance of a claim (and avoiding the denial of benefits), retain the services of a qualified Kentucky Social Security Disability attorney. Contact the Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.Adult Skin Disorders: Genetic Photosensitivity Disorders