Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) eventually leads to poor kidney function and kidney failure for many sufferers. This can cause a number of other issues and affect many other body systems. For some people, this makes it difficult or impossible to hold down a job and work to support their family. If your PKD prevents you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The Pittsburgh attorneys at Berger and Green have extensive experience with applications for SSD benefits and understand what the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks for in each application. We can review your claim and documentation before you apply or help you fight a denial of benefits. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to learn more about getting SSD for PKD in Pittsburgh.
How does the SSA determine if I have an eligible medical condition?
The SSA has strict qualification requirements for its disability benefit programs. In addition to having enough work credits and making less than the annual limit set for income from working—$1,170 per month for 2017—you must suffer from impairments that prevent you from holding a job to qualify for SSDI.
When it comes to kidney ailments such as PKD, the SSA outlines the nature of qualifying impairments in their impairment listings. For your PKD and any related conditions to qualify for SSD benefits, you need to prove you suffer from poor kidney function with:
- An ongoing need for hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis;
- A kidney transplant; or
- Reduced glomerular filtration with related bone degradation, bone pain, peripheral neuropathy, fluid overload syndrome, diastolic hypertension, vascular congestion, anasarca, or anorexia.
In some cases, people with PKD may have other related health conditions but not meet these qualifications. When that occurs, they may meet other criteria for SSD benefits. For example, poor kidney function can cause a hypertensive crisis and stroke that prevents the sufferer from returning to work. Chronic complications can also qualify you for benefits. If you required three hospitalizations in 12 months for complications, you may qualify. You could also qualify based on your inability to do certain job-related tasks, depending on your residual functional capacity.
We have experience helping clients with PKD prove their impairment by identifying the applicable impairment listing and ensuring they have the proper documentation to support their claim. We can help you determine if you qualify and guide you through the application process.
How can I prove my impairment for my claim?
When the SSA reviews your application for SSD benefits, they request your medical records and other documentation from your doctors to support your claim. This plays a key role in determining if your claim receives approval or not. Since you may not necessarily know what is in these records, we recommend discussing your application with your doctor and requesting a copy of your file before you apply.
The most important parts of this file for most people with PKD will be the laboratory findings that show your level of kidney function, records about your clinical exams, and documentation of any treatment you receive. The SSA will pay careful attention to lab results showing a consistently high level of serum creatinine or low creatinine clearance levels and to your estimated glomerular filtration rate. Other documentation of your condition or its effects can also help support your claim.
We will be happy to help you file an application or review your application before you file your claim. We cannot promise the SSA will approve your claim, but we can ensure your SSD claim file is complete and give you the best chance of approval without having to navigate the appeals process.
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Will I qualify for SSI payments?
Some people who draw SSDI because their health condition prevents them from working also qualify for additional monthly payments through the SSI program. This program requires you meet the same impairment criteria as other disability programs, in addition to having a very limited income and few resources.
We can review your claim and determine if you qualify for SSI and other related benefits.
What if the SSA denies my SSD claim?
Unfortunately, it is all too common for the SSA to deny a claim. The qualifications are stringent and proving you meet the criteria is even harder. Add in minor mistakes—like accidentally skipping a question or giving an incomplete answer—and many people find a letter of denial in their mailbox.
Luckily, you have the right to appeal this decision. Our appeal lawyers can often help our clients get the benefits they deserve through the appeals process. This is why we should be your first call after the SSA denies your benefits.
We have 60 days after the date on your letter to file an appeal in your case. During this time, we need to analyze your application and determine why the SSA did not approve you for benefits. Then, we request a hearing with an administrative law judge to present your appeal.
In this hearing, we represent you to the judge and request approval. In most cases, qualified candidates can receive approval through this process. If this step is not successful in your case, we can discuss your options and help you navigate the rest of the appeals process.
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How can I reach a Pittsburgh disability attorney?
If you need help with your disability claim for PKD, you need the attorneys at Berger and Green. We know how the SSA evaluates SSD applications and how to navigate the claims and appeals processes. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to learn more about our services or to schedule a claim evaluation today.