Can You Get Social Security Disability If You're Allergic To Wi-Fi?

Wireless Internet is a ubiquitous part of life, present in almost every home, office, and coffee shop in America. As strange as it may sound, however, some people have a condition called electromagnetic hypersensitivity that makes them allergic to Wi-Fi signals. Since these signals are so prevalent in society, electromagnetic hypersensitivity can be debilitating to those affected by it. Those who are unable to work because of this allergy may wonder if it's possible to qualify for Social Security Disability. The answer depends on how the SSA categorizes the disease.

Is the Condition in the Big Book?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a big blue book of medical conditions that automatically qualify an individual for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) payments. When considering an applicant's request for disability payments, the administration consults the book to determine if the person's condition is listed and will approve the application if it is.

As of 2015, electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not listed in the book. This is likely because this condition is not currently formally recognized by the medical or scientific community. Although people suffer real symptoms when they think they are in the presence of electromagnetic signals, studies conducted on the condition have not produced conclusive evidence these signals are a direct cause of the symptoms.

Because of this, a person filing for SSDI or SSI benefits on the basis of an electromagnetic hypersensitivity will have to qualify for benefits using an alternative method.

Does the Condition Match Another in the Book?

If the person's condition is not listed in the book, or the individual's symptoms don't exactly match the ones typically associated with the disease, the administration will do what's called "equaling the disability" by doing one of two things:

  • Seeing if the person's symptoms match a similar condition listed in the book, or
  • Bringing other symptoms the person may be experiencing into consideration to determine if the individual is at the same level of disability as if he or she were exhibiting all the symptoms of the listed disease

For instance, a person was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome but does not suffer from the headaches, fever, or painful joints associated with the condition. The SSA may also add the person's symptoms for his or her depressive disorder to get an overall picture of the individual's level of disability.

The Social Security Administration recognizes environmental illness as a reason for disability. In general, this category of illnesses refers to disabilities a person may sustain as a result of being exposed to chemicals or toxins in the individual's environment. However, people suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity may be able to get approved for disability benefits if they can match the symptoms they're experiencing with those associated with environmental illnesses.

Be aware, though, proving a disability is the result of an environmental illness is very challenging and may require you to submit laboratory tests and other evidence to show the Wi-Fi signal or other sources of electromagnetic fields are affecting you to an extent where you are unable to work as much or at all.

The other option is to show that you're suffering from other conditions as a result of or concurrent to the electromagnetic hypersensitivity. For instance, if your allergy causes you to suffer from such a high degree of anxiety that you're unable to work in an area with Wi-Fi for long periods of time, then you may be able to get approved for limited or full disability based on that.

Because of the complexity associated with this condition, it's best to consult with a social security disability lawyer from a firm like Ball & Ferrari about the best way to present your case to the SSA to maximize your chances of being approved for benefits.