Social Security Disability Benefits & Hepatitis B/C
Are you curious about whether having hepatitis B or C can result in Social Security disability benefits? Hepatitis B is an infection related to the HBV virus, while hepatitis C is caused by contact with infected blood. Over time, an infection can lead to liver scarring and swelling. It can also cause liver failure or liver cancer. This article will share what you need to know when applying for disability benefits for hepatitis.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis comes in several forms, all of which create inflammation in the liver. Sometimes the liver can heal itself, but the condition can lead to cirrhosis and fibrosis in other cases. Some of the hepatitis symptoms include poor appetite, a general feeling of being unwell, and jaundice.
Acute hepatitis lasts for less than six months, while chronic hepatitis lasts longer than that. While viruses cause some forms of hepatitis, it can also result from autoimmune diseases, alcohol, infections, medications, and plants.
Qualifying for Benefits
If you are looking to qualify for benefits for hepatitis B or C, you need to have medical records that show at least one of the following things:
- A shunt operation related to esophageal varices
- Esophageal varices and a history of massive hemorrhaging
- Pathological fluid collection in the abdomen for at least three months necessitating fluid removal
- Massive levels of bilirubin in the blood for a minimum of three months
- Confirmed diagnosis of chronic liver disease with ascites or serum bilirubin levels, or inflammation of the liver or cellular tissue death for three months.
In addition to having documentation that you meet these requirements, you also need to have a medical diagnostic of hepatitis supported through a liver biopsy.
Blue Book Listing Qualification
The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists hepatitis under Section 5.00 of the Digestive-Adult in the Blue Book. The listing for hepatitis is under section 5.05, and there are several requirements to qualify for disability benefits. Even those who cannot meet the listing requirement can still file for benefits as a medical–vocational allowance. This can be provided if you have symptoms that make it impossible to function at work. It also must be shown that the condition isn’t likely to improve in the next 12 months, even with provided medical treatment.
Evidence of hepatitis is required to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. However, you have to show that you have chronic liver disease and that the organ is severely damaged in addition to having a hepatitis infection. It’s also required that you have had certain complications resulting from hepatitis, such as hepatorenal or hepatopulmonary syndrome, internal bleeding, or fluid in the pleural or abdominal cavity.
RFC (Residual Functional Capacity)
If your liver disease isn’t severe enough to meet the requirements, the SSA will determine your residual functional capacity. This determines whether you are disabled enough to the point where you cannot perform your work duties. Essentially, this involves determining what you are still able to do even with your limitations. Lower numbers mean that the SSA believes you can do less.
In terms of physical impairments, the RFC considers whether you are capable of doing heavy, medium, light, or sedentary work based on the disease or illness.
There is also an RFC for mental impairment. It looks at how well the SSA believes you can do unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled work based on your problem.
Located in San Diego, California, the Disability Help Center offers assistance with applications, appeals, and hearing for Social Security disability. If you have hepatitis B or C and believe you may qualify for benefits, get in touch for a free evaluation!