Hep Web Exclusives : Qualifying for Disability Benefits Due to Hepatitis - by Molly Clarke
A Smart + Strong Site
Subscribe to:
Hep Magazine In Bulk
Hep Newsletter
Join Us:

Back to home » Hep Web Exclusives » June 2013


emailprint

June 13, 2013

Qualifying for Disability Benefits Due to Hepatitis

by Molly Clarke

A blogger who regularly covers social security disability issues provides some tips on how to navigate the system.

Molly Clarke
Molly Clarke
Applying for Disability Benefits Due to a Hepatitis Infection
Hepatitis is a dangerous viral infection that can severely damage the liver. Hepatitis can lead to liver failure and increase a person's chances of developing liver cancer. Although some people who have hepatitis lead relatively normal lives, others are seriously debilitated by their condition.  In some cases, hepatitis symptoms and treatment side effects can greatly limit a person's ability to perform even simple, day-to-day activities.

The younger and healthier an individual is when they contract hepatitis, the easier it is to suppress the symptoms. However, as the illness progresses and the immune system weakens, the condition can become increasingly debilitating. An individual with hepatitis may find that they can no longer work or earn a living. The resulting loss of income and lack of medical insurance can be financially devastating. If you find yourself facing these circumstances, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

The following article will give you a general overview of the SSD program and will provide you with the information you need to begin the application process.

Is Hepatitis a Disability?
To qualify for SSD benefits, an individual must have a condition or illness that keeps them from working for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration (SSA)—the governing body of the SSD programs—recognizes several different types of hepatitis as physical disabilities. These include:
  • Viral Hepatitis (Hepatitis A, B, and C)
  • Toxic Hepatitis
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Ischemic Hepatitis
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Hepatitis
Being diagnosed with hepatitis is not enough to qualify an individual for disability benefits. Applicants must meet very specific medical criteria to prove that their condition is, in fact, a disability.  Medical criteria for all potentially disabling conditions can be found in the SSA's blue book. The blue book is a publication used by the SSA to determine what conditions and symptoms qualify a person for benefits.

The SSA evaluates hepatitis claims under section 5.05 of the blue book (Chronic Liver Disease). To meet this listing, applicants must have medical evidence documenting one or more of the following:
  • Internal bleeding due to esophageal, gastric, or ectopic varices
  • Fluid collection in the abdomen
  • Hypoalbuminemia—or abnormally low levels of albumin
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy—or confusion resulting from the body's inability to remove toxins from the blood
  • High levels of bilirubin in the blood
  • A confirmed diagnosis of hepatitis
  • A confirmed diagnosis of liver disease
For a more detailed description of the SSA's blue book requirements for hepatitis, visit the following page: www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/hepatitis-and-social-security-disability.

Do not panic if you do not meet the blue book's strict requirements, you may still qualify for SSD benefits under a "medical vocational allowance". This means that your condition causes severe limitations despite the fact that you don't match the specific symptoms listed in the blue book.

To determine whether you qualify for a medical vocational allowance, the SSA will consider your ability to complete common workplace tasks such as carrying lightweight items, following instructions, and sitting or standing for extended periods of time. Hepatitis has been known to cause symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and memory loss, which make it difficult to work. If medical evidence proves that your symptoms have limited your ability to function, you might qualify under a medical vocational allowance.

Technical Requirements for Social Security Disability
The Social Security administration governs two separate disability benefit programs-SSDI and SSI. Each of these programs has their own set of technical eligibility requirements. In addition to meeting the medical criteria for SSD benefits, applicants must also meet technical SSD requirements. Social Security Disability Application Process
Prior to beginning the SSD application process, it is important that you collect the necessary records and documents to support your claim. Documentation should include medical records detailing your diagnosis, your treatment history, your response to treatments, any hospitalizations, lab test results, medical imaging, and personal statements from your doctors. You should also have copies of financial and employment records. The SSA will use these documents to determine whether or not you qualify for SSD benefits, so it is important that you include as much information as possible.

Once you decide to apply for SSD benefits, you can do so on the SSA's website. If you prefer to apply in person with an SSA representative, you can do so at your local Social Security office by scheduling an appointment ahead of time. It is important to note that the SSD application process can be long and overwhelming.

If your application is denied, it is important that you do not give up. You can appeal this decision. The key to being awarded benefits is to remain persistent in your efforts. Once you are awarded SSD benefits, you will be able to focus on your health rather than your finances.

Molly Clarke writes for Social Security Disability Help, a site that works to promote disability awareness and assist those throughout the Social Security Disability application process. You can contact Molly at mac@ssd-help.org.

Search: Social Security, Disability Benefits, hepatitis, viral hepatitis


Scroll down to comment on this story. Click here to visit the Hep Forums and ask questions about this story.



Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The Hep team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Show comments (2 total)


[Go to top]

Quick Links
Current Issue
Forums
Poll
Blogs
Hep TV
Calendar
Services Directory
Conference News
Top Stories
Treatment News
Hep Exclusives
All About Hepatitis
• Hepatitis A
Transmission
Prevention
Treatment
• Hepatitis B
Transmission
Prevention
Treatment
• Hepatitis C
Transmission
Prevention
Treatment
HCV/HIV Coinfection
Help Paying For Meds
Clinical Trials
TALK TO US
Tell us what you think
Poll
Are you a regular coffee drinker?
Yes
No


Survey
Hepatitis C Reader Survey
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.