When a person suffers from hypertension on a chronic basis, it can cause kidney damage. This kidney damage, called hypertensive nephropathy is one of the leading causes of end-stage kidney disease, according to a paper in the Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy journal. Hypertensive nephropathy and kidney disease can be extremely debilitating and keep sufferers out of work.
To learn more about getting Social Security disability for hypertensive nephropathy in Pittsburgh, call a Social Security disability attorney at Berger and Green today: 412-661-1400.
Can I get Social Security Disability for hypertensive nephropathy?
It is possible to get Social Security disability for hypertensive nephropathy, if:
- It caused your chronic kidney disease (CKD); and
- Your CKD is severe enough; and
- You meet the other, non-medical requirements imposed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
A diagnosis of hypertensive nephropathy alone will not suffice.
How does the SSA evaluate hypertensive nephropathy?
The SSA lumps multiple medical conditions that can cause CKD together. The SSA then evaluates the severity of your CKD, not your hypertensive nephropathy. The benchmarks are in the SSA’s Blue Book, also called the Listing of Impairments.
Under Section 6.00 of the Blue Book, you must have chronic kidney disease with:
- A requirement of chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis to prolong your life, OR
- A kidney transplant within the last year, OR
- Impaired kidney function.
To qualify under the impaired kidney function listing, you must have:
- Reduced glomerular function established by at least two lab tests during a one-year period. These tests must be at least 90 days apart. On these lab tests, you must have serum creatinine of 4 mg/dL or more; creatinine clearance of 20 ml/min. or less; or estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 20 ml/min/1.73m2 or less. You must also have one of the following:
- “Renal osteodystrophy with severe bone pain and imaging studies documenting bone abnormalities,” OR
- Peripheral neuropathy, OR
- Fluid overload syndrome with the required documentation, OR
- Anorexia with a body mass index (BMI) of 18.0 or less. The BMI calculations must have been 18.0 or less on at least two occasions within a one-year period. The calculations must be at least 90 days apart to show that it is an ongoing condition.
You might also qualify if your CKD required at least three hospitalizations within a year. These hospitalizations must have occurred at least 30 days apart and must have lasted 48 hours (including hours in the ER immediately before hospitalization).
What if I do not meet the severity criteria for CKD?
Not everyone will meet the SSA’s severity criteria for CKD. If this is your situation, you have two options:
- Show that your condition is severe enough to keep you from returning to your old job and from adjusting to any new work. To do so, your doctor may complete a questionnaire about your residual functional capacity (i.e., your ability to do work-related tasks despite your condition).
- Pursue an award of disability benefits for some other medical condition from which you suffer. If you have chronic high blood pressure that is severe enough to cause hypertensive nephropathy, you may be able to qualify under other conditions caused by hypertension.
If I have satisfied the CKD medical requirements, do I get disability benefits?
Not yet. You have a few more hoops to jump through before you can receive your disability benefits. To recover benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, you must:
- Establish that, because of your medical condition, you are unable to perform any type of gainful activity. (Under SSA rules for 2017, this means earning less than $1,170 a month. The SSA considers people who earn more than $1,170 a month capable of supporting themselves.); AND
- You must have earned enough work credits over the course of your career.
I do not have enough work credits. Is there any help for me?
Yes, there is another option. If you have a significant impairment that prevents you from being able to do any kind of work, you might be able to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To qualify for SSI, you must have limited income and assets.
This seems complicated. Where can I get help with my disability claim for hypertensive nephropathy?
The process of filing for disability benefits is complicated and frustrating. The SSA denies hundreds of thousands of people with significant illnesses every year. To help you get the benefits you need the first time, or to appeal a denial, you need the Pittsburgh Social Security disability attorneys at Berger and Green.
Note: You only have 60 days from the time you receive your denial letter to file an appeal so you must work fast.
We handle all disability cases on a contingency fee basis which means you pay no upfront out-of-pocket costs. You only pay us if you win your case. So call us to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today: 412-661-1400.