From P. Allen Jones: I know the inability to work because of sickle cell disease is nothing to take lightly. One thing we often experience is excessive absences, inability to perform duties and termination due to sickness. In the US, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will give disability benefits to qualified individuals. The problem for many people, it's difficult to navigate this Agency and their requirements. Thanks to Ram Meyyappan, the following guest-blog post hopes to offer helpful information.
Applying for Social Security Disability with Sickle Cell Disease
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
Social Security Disability Help
The Social Security Administration (SSA) counts Sickle Cell Anemia among the potentially disabling conditions that can qualify a person to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If you suffer from Sickle Cell disease and are now unable to work as you once were, you may be able to receive disability benefits through either, or both, of the SSA’s disability programs.SSD Programs
The SSA has two disability programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is a program for disabled workers who have built up work credits over the course of their employment and who earn below the threshold for what the SSA considers “substantial” income per month due to a severe and medically provable disability.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a need-based program designed to pay disability benefits to those who either do not meet the criteria for receiving SSDI, or who have such limited income and resources that they need additional monthly financial support.
Medical Requirements for Receiving SSDIn addition to meeting the basic technical eligibility criterion for receiving SSD benefits under either of the SSA’s disability programs, you must also show that your Sickle Cell disease is severely debilitating. There are basic medical eligibility requirements as well as condition-specific medical records and evidence necessary for SSD approval.
The requirements for every disability that qualifies for benefits include having a condition that:
- Prevents you from earning a “gainful living”,
- Has been present, or is expected to last, at least 12 months, or which is terminal.
The condition-specific requirements for being approved for SSD with Sickle Cell disease can be found in Section 7.05 of the SSA’s Blue Book, the manual of medical conditions used by disability determinations examiners.This listing requires you experience the at least one following and have substantial medical evidence to back up your symptom claims:
- Three or more episodes of thrombotic (painful) crises in the five months prior to the review of your disability claim,
- Three or more extended hospital stays in the year prior to the review of your disability claim,
- Severe and chronic anemia with a hematocrit of 26 percent or lower
Sickle Cell Complications and SSD BenefitsIf you experience severe medical complications, affecting other body systems, then you can potentially be approved for disability benefits under the Blue Book listings for other conditions, even if your Sickle Cell disease doesn’t meet the listing in Section 7.05. Here are a few of the other areas of the Blue Book under which your claim for disability benefits could be evaluated by the SSA:
- Congestive Heart Failure – Section 4.02
- Kidney Failure –Section 6.00
- Stroke – Section 11.04
- Impaired Vision –Sections 2.02, 2.03, and 2.04
- Musculoskeletal System – Section 1.0
It is also important to note that the SSA does take all of your medical conditions into account when determining if you meet the eligibility requirements for disability benefits. In other words, your application for benefits should include medical records that detail all of the affects of your Sickle Cell Disease in order to support your claim for benefits. This includes the primary and secondary effects (complications) of your Sickle Cell disorder.Getting Started with Your Disability Application
Beginning your application as soon as possible is important, as the review process can take a number of months. You can begin your application online immediately, at the SSA’s website www.ssa.gov/pgm/disability.htm or you can schedule an appointment to complete your application in person at your local SSA office.Work with your doctor to complete the necessary medical evaluation. You will need to provide extensive information on your medical condition, how it affects your ability to work and your (limited) daily activities in your personal life, as well as details regarding your work history, earnings, and your education and training. You will also need to submit details regarding your income and other financial resources.
For more information on sickle cell disease and SSD, please visit:www.disability-benefits-help.org NOTE: This is not a government help website.
Neither this site www.disability-benefits-help.org nor any lawyer or advocate associated with it is affiliated in any way with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration. By requesting a free evaluation, the user will be provided with the name of an independent lawyer or advocate who will contact the user to do the evaluation. Social Security Disability Help is not a lawyer or law firm. It is an advertising service paid for by the lawyers and advocates whose names are provided in response to user requests and it is not an attorney referral service.