Hepatitis

Disabled individuals who have worked in the past may be eligible for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits to help pay for necessities. The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates the nature of a disability and the work history of applicants to determine whether a person is eligible to receive benefits.

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is a group of diseases that are defined by inflammation in the liver. The severity of symptoms and complications related to hepatitis depends on the type of the disease that is present. Some types of hepatitis cause only minor symptoms, while others can lead to life-threatening complications like cirrhosis or cancer. The type of hepatitis also dictates how a person is infected with the virus.

Symptoms of hepatitis include fatigue, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, loss of appetite, and jaundice. Inflammation in the liver that is left untreated may lead to permanent damage.

Hepatitis A is spread through contact with fecal matter of an infected person. The most common way that this occurs is through contaminated water. Sexual contact may also lead to the spread of hepatitis A. This type of hepatitis tends to be mild, and most people who contract hepatitis A will no longer have symptoms after staying on bed rest for several weeks.

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with bodily fluids. Expectant mothers who are infected with this type of hepatitis can also spread the virus to their children. Vaccinations are used to prevent the spread of hepatitis B. Those who are infected will need to take medications including lamivudine and adefovir dipivoxil on a regular basis to slow the progression of the disease. If hepatitis B goes untreated, liver failure may occur. In this instance, a liver transplant is required to prevent fatality.

Hepatitis C is spread through contact with the blood of an infected individual. Unlike hepatitis B, there is no vaccine available to prevent the spread of hepatitis C. Treatment for this type of hepatitis includes a strict regimen of medications including peginterferon and ribavirin. Hepatitis C can also cause liver failure.

Hepatitis D is an infection that can occur in people who also suffer from hepatitis B. Since this type of hepatitis is associated with hepatitis B, vaccinations are able to help prevent the spread of hepatitis D.

Hepatitis E is spread through the consumption of contaminated food and water sources. It is most common in developing countries.

What is SSDI?

SSDI is an insurance program that is available to people who are suffering from a severe disability that makes it impossible for them to work. Employers withhold money from paychecks and remit the money to the federal government to fund the program. Since the insurance program is funded through paycheck deductions, it is necessary for applicants to have worked in the past. The exact amount of work that is required in order for a person to qualify depends on the age of the applicant and the date of disability.

Getting SSDI for Hepatitis

While the SSA recognizes hepatitis as a disability, certain symptoms and complications must be present in order for a person to qualify. The first requirement is a diagnosis of hepatitis from a qualified medical professional. A diagnosis of liver disease may also be accepted.

Complications including internal bleeding, fluid buildup in the abdomen, low levels of albumin, high levels of bilirubin or an inability of the body to remove toxins due to liver damage will also qualify a person for benefits. Complications including liver failure and cancer are also considered during the application review.

The SSA uses medical records to determine whether a disability exists. For this reason, it is important for disabled individuals to regularly schedule appointments with a licensed medical professional.

Getting Help from an Attorney

Applying for SSDI benefits can be a confusing process for people who are not familiar with the SSA’s requirements. Living with a disability is difficult enough without the frustrating SSDI application process. Fortunately, attorneys who specialize in SSDI cases are available to help. These legal professionals are knowledgeable about the SSA’s requirements and know how to navigate the application process to ensure that paperwork and medical records are filed in a timely manner. The first step to a less stressful SSDI application process is to consult with an attorney.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.