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Hepatitis and SSA Disability Benefits

Hepatitis is the swelling of the liver which impairs its ability to remove toxins from the body, digest food properly or store energy.

Claimants who have hepatitis can have an inflamed liver and other symptoms including fatigue, abdominal pain, abnormal liver functioning, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea or jaundice. Hepatitis is most commonly caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), the hepatitis B virus (HBV), or the hepatitis C virus (HCV).  Claimants with Hepatitis C usually contract the disease after coming into contact with contaminated blood. Hepatitis C can cause severe liver damage.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="198" caption="Hepatitis virions, of an unknown strain of the organism (Photo credit: Microbe World)"]Hepatitis virions, of an unknown strain of the...[/caption]

How does the SSA determine disability for Hepatitis?

Claimants may win SSI or SSDI benefits for hepatitis by meeting a listing on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book this list outlines the conditions and symptoms that are disabling according to the Social Security Administration) or by proving, through a medical vocational allowance, that the claimant does not have the ability or residual work capacity to perform what the SSA considers “substantial gainful activity.”

Winning SSDI or SSI for Hepatitis by meeting or exceeding a listing

The Social Security Administration does have a listing for Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is listed under the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments under the category called the Digestive System – Medical Listing 5.05 (chronic liver disease).

If a SSI or SSDI claimant’s condition meets or exceeds the SSA listing they may be found automatically disabled. This listing is fairly complicated and if you have questions it is best to either discuss your case with your medical doctor or contact a disability lawyer and have them review your medical records to determine if you have enough medical evidence to prove that your condition meets or exceeds a listing.

Winning SSDI or SSI for Hepatitis through a Medical Vocational Allowance

If a claimant’s condition does not meet a listing, they may still be considered disabled if their hepatitis C interferes with their ability to work. Most claimant’s, especially if they are older than 55 years of age, will most likely qualify for SSI or SSDI by proving that they do not have the ability to work. The SSA uses what they call GRID rules to identify claimants who are not able to work.

As mentioned before, the older the claimant the greater chance they will have to prove they cannot work. Claimants should focus on making sure their medical evidence clearly states why they are not able to work. For example, medical records should clearly state the claimant’s ability to:

To make a medical vocational decision the SSA will review the claimant’s age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. If the SSA decides that the person’s condition is so severe they are unable to work their current job, any previous job (past 15 years) or be retrained for other work, they will find them disabled.
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