It is estimated that over three million people in the U.S. have chronic hepatitis C virus infections, and approximately 16,000 new cases were reported in this country in 2009. The majority of individuals who contract this disease will develop chronic viral hepatitis, which can eventually result in liver conditions, such as cirrhosis and cancer. The dedicated Social Security attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates have more than two decades of experience representing clients in Massachusetts as well as New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Based in Boston, we have developed the knowledge needed to assert your rights in complex cases, appeals, and medical determinations.Hepatitis C Can Make You Eligible for SSDI
You likely will be deemed eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you are unable to work due to a medical condition that is anticipated to extend for at least one year or result in death. When evaluating a claimant’s pursuit of SSDI, the Social Security Administration (SSA) typically uses its Listing of Impairments. This document describes the medical conditions that are believed to be severe enough to prevent a person from working, which means that he or she would be able to get government assistance.
Sections 5.00D4 and 5.05 of Part A of the Listing cover medical criteria relating to chronic liver disease that will open the door to disability benefits for an individual who satisfies them. It stipulates that you must be diagnosed with this condition, and also that you must meet one or more of the following requirements:
- Internal bleeding. This can be demonstrated by tests or medical imaging that shows what SSA calls “hemodynamic instability,” which is typically accompanied by symptoms including pale skin, excessive perspiration, low blood pressure, and fainting. One hospitalization accompanied by the transfusion of at least two units of blood is also required to base a claim on this symptom.
- Ascites or hydrothorax. This buildup of fluid in the abdomen must have developed in spite of ongoing treatment and must be supported by appropriate laboratory tests.
- Spontaneous bacterial infection in the abdominal cavity.
- Hepatorenal or hepatopulmonary syndromes. These typically cause the rapid deterioration of the kidneys or lungs.
- Hepatic encephalopathy. This condition usually results in a decline of cognitive function, altered state of consciousness, and even coma.
- End stage liver disease.
As the criteria show, a diagnosis of hepatitis C alone will not qualify you for government benefits. You also need to demonstrate that the virus has caused serious liver damage through the conditions and symptoms described in these sections of the Listing, and that your disease has advanced to a stage where you can no longer effectively work.
For some people, a liver disease may not meet the specific requirements of the Listing but still may prevent them from holding a job. In this situation, they may qualify for disability benefits under SSA’s residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation. This assessment is based on medical records as well as lay evidence and the applicant’s own subjective understanding of his or her pain and injury. It is designed to investigate what a claimant is able to do and determines his or her capacity to engage in work-related activities.
If you have hepatitis C and chronic liver disease, you may be able to qualify for Social Security assistance. An experienced lawyer can work with you and your health care providers to gather all the medical documents and other paperwork to make a strong disability application.Consult a Government Benefits Attorney Helping Massachusetts Residents
At the law firm of Kantrovitz & Associates, we offer experienced government benefits lawyers who help Social Security beneficiaries and claimants throughout and beyond Massachusetts. Our clients come from Plymouth, Essex, Norfolk, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. If you have questions about whether your hepatitis C or chronic liver disease may qualify you for government benefits, the attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates can help. Contact us today by calling toll-free at 1-800-367-0871 (617-367-0880) or emailing us via the contact form on our website.