HIV or AIDS Patients are not Always Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits

by Editorial Board on December 28, 2010 · 1 comment

in Immune System

The US government, through the Social Security Administration (SSA), has a disability benefits plan available to people unable to work due to a disabling medical condition.  The disability benefits are provided under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS could be eligible to receive the disability benefits under either or both of these programs, but not everyone with HIV or AIDS will qualify.

Eligibility criteria for Social Security

disability benefits for HIV or AIDS patients

Not all individuals with HIV/AIDS will qualify the disability benefits, as the SSA rules require a severe medical impairment that leaves the claimant unable to work. Claimants must meet certain basic criteria regarding their medical condition and their work history to qualify.

Work eligibility

To obtain disability payments you cannot be working at substantial gainful levels which the SSA says is $1,000 a month in 2010.  If you work at SGA levels it will be very hard to show you are disabled, as the SSA definition of disability says you cannot work and be disabled.  There are some exceptions to this rule that professionals can help you examine, mainly the idea of ‘accommodated work”.

Medical eligibility

Individuals with HIV/AIDS can be eligible for disability benefits only if their HIV/AIDS is serious enough to prevent them from working. The severity of the disabilities in individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS is evaluated by an expert medical team which evaluates whether the disability has limited the individual’s ability to perform certain basic functions such as walking, remembering, sitting, etc.

The Social Security Administration has also indicated that the individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS should also be suffering from certain secondary infections or conditions to be eligible for disability benefits. If any of these conditions are not present then the disability claim may be denied. A few of the conditions considered under the disability claims include: bacterial, fungal, protozoan or helminthic, and/or viral infections; cancerous tumors; non healing skin ulcers; and HIV wasting syndrome.

The Medical Listing that deals with HIV/AIDS is 14.08.  Those who do not meet all or most of the criteria required in the listing may not be eligible for disability benefits.  If you don’t meet a listing then you could still win if your condition equals a listing.  Even if you cannot meet or equal a listing there still could be a way to prevail if you can show Social Security that you cannot sustain employment.  Legal advice can help elaborate multiple legal theories for your specific condition; typically a lawyer will depend on multiple ways to win as a disability hearing strategy.

Post a comment below to share your thoughts on this subject or ask us a question, we encourage you to be part of the Living with a Disability community.

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llc January 2, 2011 at 10:41 pm

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