A diagnosis of hepatitis B or C can quickly turn a person’s life upside down. These viruses cause complications throughout the body, and often result in long-lasting or even fatal liver damage. The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows claimants to collect disability benefits for this condition, but approval depends on the extent that hepatitis or its treatments prevent a claimant from working.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits With Hepatitis
If you've been diagnosed with hepatitis or chronic liver disease, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on the official Blue Book listing. If you don't qualify under the listing requirements, you may still be eligible for benefits if you can prove that the symptoms of hepatitis B or C significantly impact your ability to work.
Disability benefits for hepatitis may be provided under the following provisions:
- Hepatitis B or C diagnosis. Hepatitis is specifically covered under the SSA's Blue Book under Section 5.0, and requires an extensive amount of medical proof of disability in order to qualify for benefits. Patients need to provide copies of their lab tests (such as a measurement of HCV viral load), treatment histories, prognosis, and written statements from their treating physicians.
- Chronic liver disease diagnosis. Hepatitis can cause scarring in the liver, known as cirrhosis, and may require a transplant to prevent liver failure. The SSA listing for chronic liver disease allows patients to get automatic benefits if they've suffered a complication due to liver disease, such as internal bleeding, fluid buildup in the abdominal or thoracic cavity, bacterial peritonitis, or end-stage liver disease.
- Residual functional capacity. Patients who don't meet the listing for chronic liver disease may still qualify for benefits if their hepatitis B or C leaves them unable to work. Claimants must provide medical evidence of the debilitating effects of their condition, such as the symptoms themselves, the demands of ongoing medical care, and the side effects of necessary medications. Social Security will use this information to assign you a "residual functional capacity" (RFC), or ability to do any kind of work. If your RFC qualifies you for disability, your claim should be approved.
If you think you may be eligible for disability benefits, we can help. Call us today or fill out the form on this page to set up your consultation with a Social Security attorney.