If you have a renal (kidney) disease, you may qualify for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, but first you must meet specific criteria to qualify as disabled. But every day in America, many truly disabled people are denied Social Security disability benefits. In fact, most people will be denied the first time they apply, especially if they try to apply on their own.
You need someone with experience in Social Security disability on your side. The attorneys at Berger and Green can help you determine if you qualify, as well as assist you in getting Social Security disability for a renal disease in Pittsburgh. Call 412-661-1400.
Do I qualify for Social Security disability based on my kidney disease?
Kidney disease can make daily life challenging, and prevent you from being able to work. Having a chronic illness can require ongoing medical treatments, which leads to increasing medical bills. If you receive dialysis treatments or have kidney failure or chronic renal disease with or without a kidney transplant, or one of many other kidney conditions, you might qualify under the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book evaluation standards for kidney or renal disease.
The standard is whether you can prove that you have “a severe medically determinable impairment,” and the book outlines specific criteria you may meet to qualify.
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What are the Blue Book criteria for qualifying for SSD based on renal disease?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the Blue Book for evaluating whether a person’s illness or condition qualifies for Social Security disability. Much of the information contained in the Blue Book is highly technical and complicated. Your lawyer can help you understand how your case is evaluated, and can help you prepare your case for evaluation by the SSA.
The SSA requires evidence that proves your chronic kidney disease. You must provide results of laboratory tests, reports of your clinical examinations, treatment records, and documentation of how you responded to treatment. The SSA usually requires records covering at least 90 days. They may require lab reports of your serum creatinine or serum albumin levels to determine how well your kidneys are functioning. If you have had a kidney or bone biopsy, you will have to send them the pathology report.
The SSA also considers your dialysis records, your kidney function before and after kidney transplant, and whether you have one of many other medical conditions that can result from impaired kidney function. These other conditions can include bone degeneration, nerve damage, muscle weakness, hypertension, edema, anorexia, fatigue and many other complications of chronic kidney disease.
Diabetic nephropathy, hypertensive nephropathy, and chronic glomerulonephritis are examples of genitourinary conditions that can qualify under the Blue Book criteria. There are many other genitourinary conditions that can qualify you for SSD benefits.
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What if I don’t meet the Blue Book criteria? Can I still qualify for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits?
You must be able to prove that you are disabled in order to qualify for SSD benefits. How does the SSA determine who is disabled? If you meet the criteria under one of the Blue Book listings, then you can qualify based on that. But if you do not, you may meet other criteria the SSA uses to evaluate disability.
If you have a life-threatening condition or have been unable to work for a year or more due to a disability, you meet the Social Security Act’s definition of disability, which is being unable to “engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
In determining if you meet this definition, the SSA will consider these five questions:
- How much work are you able to do?
- Do you have a condition that is on their list of impairments?
- How severe is your condition?
- Are you able to do the same kind of work you have done before?
- Are you able to do any kind of work at all?
If you have a kidney or renal disease, your lawyer can help you navigate the difficult and complicated process of evaluating and presenting your claim to prove you meet these criteria.
What non-disability qualifications do I have to meet?
Even if you are determined to be disabled, there are still more hoops you will have to jump through in order to receive SSD. If you are applying for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), you must have a certain amount of work credits, which you earn every year that you are gainfully employed. These additional requirements often result in people with disabilities being disqualified.
The amount you are required to have worked in the past depends on how old you are. If you are under 24, you must have worked at least 18 months of the last 3 years. If you are between the ages of 24 – 31, you must have worked at least 3 of the last 6 years. And if you are over 31, you must have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years.
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How much will I get if I qualify for SSD benefits?
This will depend on how much money you earned in the past, and how much you paid in employment taxes. Our disability attorneys examine your work records to estimate and fight for the full amount of benefits you deserve.
Other members of your family can also receive benefits if you are eligible for SSD benefits. If your spouse if 62 or older, or is caring for your child who is younger than 16 or disabled, your spouse may be eligible for benefits. If you have a child who is under the age of 18, or is an unmarried disabled adult, your child may be eligible for benefits. After you have received disability benefits for two years, you will automatically be eligible for Medicare.
What about Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
You might be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits if you have a disability. This program is designed to help you afford the basic necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. It is a separate program from DIB. SSI does not have a work requirement, but it does have a low income requirement.
The basic qualification criteria are:
- You must be disabled or blind
- Your income must be below the limit amount
- You must be unable to work for at least a year
The different programs available for people with disabilities are complicated and confusing. Make sure you work with an experienced attorney to help you evaluate and handle your claim. If you have been denied disability benefits or have questions about applying, call the Social Security disability attorneys at Berger and Green for a free consultation about your case. Call 412-661-1400.