Chronic liver disease can cause serious complications that make it difficult to work. If you cannot make ends meet because of your medical condition, you might be eligible for disability benefits. These regular monthly payments could come from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The disability lawyers from Berger and Green can help you fight for Social Security Disability for chronic liver disease. We can help you apply for disability or, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your initial claim, we will navigate the appeals process for you.
Getting Benefits for Chronic Liver Disease Based on an Impairment Listing
The SSA publishes a book, known as “the Blue Book,” that outlines the conditions that qualify for disability benefits. There is an entry in this publication that addresses chronic liver diseases and related complications: Section 5.05.
This impairment listing outlines the criteria you must meet to get benefits based on your condition. To get benefits, you must have:
- A diagnosis of end-stage liver disease or chronic liver disease; and
- An esophageal hemorrhage; or
- A gastrointestinal hemorrhage; or
- Hepatorenal syndrome; or
- Hepatopulmonary syndrome; or
- Hepatic encephalopathy, or
- Ascites; or
- Hydrothorax; or
- Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis; or
- Clinical tests that confirm you have advanced, end-stage liver disease.
You will need to have medical evidence in your file that confirms you meet these criteria. The best way to learn more about your qualifications and find out what is in your medical records is to discuss your application with your doctor before you file. Your doctor can help your case by ensuring you have all of the appropriate imaging scans and clinical tests to prove your impairment.
Getting Disability Benefits When You Do Not Meet an Impairment Listing
You can qualify for disability benefits if you do not meet an impairment listing through your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Your RFC is an evaluation of your ability to work and manage activities of daily living. The SSA uses your RFC to understand:
- The type of work you can do; and
- How often you can work; and
- How long you can work.
The Office of Disability Determination Services evaluates your RFC in one of three ways:
- A doctor from the Office of Disability Determination Services evaluates you based on your file; or
- Your doctor evaluates you based on your medical records and their knowledge of your case; or
- You attend a consultative exam with another physician paid for by SSA.
If your RFC shows you cannot work at your current job or any other job you might qualify for, you will likely get approved for benefits.
To Get Disability for Chronic Liver Disease, You Must Also Meet Technical Requirements.
While meeting the medical qualifications is a difficult part of getting disability benefits, this is not the only step in the process. There are also technical qualifications for both SSDI and SSI that you must meet before the local field office will forward your application to the Office of Disability Determination Services.
If you do not meet the technical qualifications, the claims representative from your local field office will issue a technical denial. If this occurs, you will need to appeal the denial to get the SSA to reconsider your claim.
Some of the most common reasons we see applicants receive technical denials include:
- Leaving blanks on the application; or
- Entering responses in the wrong blanks on the application; or
- Issues with a name, birthdate, or Social Security Number; or
- Failing to meet the requirements for SSDI by earning too much money or not having enough work credits; or
- Earning above the current income limit and having too many assets to meet the requirements for SSI.
We Can File Your Appeal After a Denial in Pittsburgh.
Most people who apply for disability benefits receive a denial. The SSA denies more claims than it approves, so most people who get disability have to get it through the appeals process. We can navigate this entire process for you, but you it is important not to delay. We only have 60 days from the date on your denial letter to request an appeals hearing.
The appeals process requires us to:
- Request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge; and
- Investigate your application and understand why the SSA denied your claim; and
- Collect additional evidence to help prove your qualifications; and
- Represent you to the Administrative Law Judge during your hearing; and
- Present the case we built on your behalf; and
- Ask the Administrative Law Judge to overturn your denial.
It is important to note that this process often takes more than a year, and you will not receive benefits during this time. However, if we can get you approved for disability, you might receive back pay to cover these months. You could also qualify for retroactive benefits for the time you suffered from a disabling impairment before you filed your claim.
Talking to an Attorney About Getting Benefits for Chronic Liver Disease in Pittsburgh, PA
The disability team from Berger and Green offers free case reviews. We can help you fight for the benefits you need and deserve. We understand how the appeals process works in Pittsburgh, and we can guide you through it every step of the way.
Call us today at 412-661-1400 for your complimentary consultation with a member of our Pittsburgh team.