September 20, 2011

Social Security Disability Benefits for Claimants Diagnosed with Hepatitis

Some individuals diagnosed with chronic hepatitis are unable to work and find the need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers Hepatitis under Section 5.00, Digestive System in the “Listing of Impairments.”  The specific listing for Hepatitis is found under Section 5.05 Chronic Liver Disease and to meet this listing for purposes of qualifying for disability benefits, your medical records must indicate one of the following:

  1. Esophageal, gastric, or ectopic varices with a documented history of massive hemorrhaging as a result; or
  2. Having had a shunt operation due to esophageal varices; or
  3. Pathologic fluid collection in the abdomen for three (3) months or more that has required removal of such fluid or hypoalbuminemia; or
  4. Hepatic Encephalopathy; or
  5. High levels (2.5 mg per 100 ml. or more) of bilirubin in the blood on repeat exams for at least three (3) months; or
  6. Confirmed diagnosis of chronic liver disease with ascites as mentioned in #3 above, or with serum bilirubin levels as mentioned in #5 above, or with inflammation of the liver or cellular death of tissue within the liver for at least three (3) months. This is demonstrated by a blood test showing abnormal prothrombin time (a measure of how long it takes blood to clot) as well as blood tests indicating abnormal levels of other liver enzymes.

Disability claimants must also have a medical diagnosis of Hepatitis which is supported by a liver biopsy in addition to documenting the above requirements.

Indiana individuals who are unable to meet this listing based on the above information, may still file for disability benefits in the form of a medical vocational allowance. You may be considered for this medical vocational allowance if your symptoms are severe enough that you are unable to function at work and your condition is not expected to improve for a period of not less than twelve (12) months, even with medical treatment.

If you are disabled because of Hepatitis that is so severe that it prevents you from working, you may be entitled to disability benefits. Individuals may benefit to work closely with their medical provider and a qualified Social Security disability lawyer or representative to obtain the appropriate medical documentation to support their disability claim in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

So remember, you may be able to win your SSDI or SSI claim even if you do not meet or equal the above mentioned criteria for individuals with chronic liver disease.  Social Security disability benefits amay be based upon an individual’s residual functional capacity.  Therefore, if your hepatitis has prevented you from performing substantial gainful work activity for the past twelve months or you expect that it will prevent you from work activity for twelve months or more, your condition may be severe enough to be approved for disability benefits.

Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis is an experienced lawyer who represents individuals with their SSDI or SSI claim.  Disability lawyer Scott Lewis offers a free case evaluation to individuals seeking disability benefits.  If you are disabled and would like a free consultation regarding your disability claim, call (317) 423-8888 to speak to Mr. Lewis or his staff.  Call today!

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