In a healthy person, the liver is responsible for cleaning the blood, helping digest food and a number of other tasks. Liver disease damages the liver and prevents the liver from doing what it is supposed to. Liver disease can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills and an inability to work. Depending on your disease’s severity, you might be eligible for Social Security benefits.
Read below for more information on obtaining Social Security disability for a liver disease in Pittsburgh. If you need help obtaining your benefits, call Berger and Green today: 412-661-1400.
Do I qualify for benefits under the SSA Blue Book?
Under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, people who cannot work as a result of a long-term disability or medical condition can receive benefits. There are a few ways to qualify; the first is meeting the severity criteria under a listing in the Blue Book.
SSA’s Listing of Impairments
The SSA’s Blue Book contains a listing for chronic liver disease. If you meet the severity criteria under the listing, the SSA might deem you disabled.
To qualify under the chronic liver disease listing, you must have been diagnosed with end-stage liver disease or chronic liver disease with a complication. Some of the potential complications may include:
- Excess fluid in peritoneal cavity
- Esophageal or gastrointestinal hemorrhage
- Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- Hepatopulmonary syndrome
- Hepatorenal syndrome
Just meeting the qualifications is not enough. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must also answer the following:
Are you working?
In order to qualify for benefits in 2017, you will need to be earning less than $1,170 per month.
Do you meet the SSDI work credit criteria?
To receive benefits, you will need to be eligible for SSDI based on work credits. The SSA will look at the number of years you have worked and whether you have contributed enough money into the Social Security system over the course of your career. The SSA will convert your earnings into work credits; the number of credits you need to qualify for benefits will depend on your age.
If you do not meet the SSDI criteria, do you meet the SSI criteria?
If you have not worked enough to qualify for SSDI, you may still be able to get disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSI, you must establish financial need by showing low income and low assets under $2,000 for an individual.
What if my liver condition does not meet these criteria?
If you do not qualify under the Blue Book listing, the SSA will use the following criteria to evaluate your case:
- Whether you are working
- Whether you are able to work (at your current or previous job or whether you are able to adjust to new work)
- Whether your medical condition is severe
Whether You Have a Job
The SSA will look in to whether you are currently working. If you make more than a certain amount each month, the SSA will not consider you disabled.
Ability to Work
If you are not working, the SSA will consider whether you are able to work. If you have the ability to do your previous job, the SSA will not consider you disabled.
If the SSA finds you cannot do your previous job, it will consider whether you can adjust to new work. If you can adjust, it will not consider you disabled. If you cannot adjust, it may deem you disabled.
Residual Functional Capacity
To determine whether you can work at your previous job or adjust to new work, the SSA will perform a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation. Your RFC rating will determine if you can do sedentary, light, medium, or heavy work or if you cannot work at all.
If your condition is severe enough to keep you from working and if it has lasted, or is expected to last, a year or longer or result in death, the SSA might determine you disabled.
How can I prove I qualify?
Regardless of whether your condition is on the Listing of Impairments, the SSA will need you to provide detailed information regarding your condition and the treatments you require. Clinical and laboratory documentation, as well as other medical evidence, will be necessary to evaluate your disorder. You will also need to provide information regarding:
- The treatment(s) you are undergoing
- Dosage information
- How the treatment is affecting you
- Adverse effects of the treatment
- Expected duration of the treatment
The SSA will analyze the effects of the treatments and keep track of any improvements in your condition. If the SSA determines that you qualify, you will receive your benefits.
What if the SSA denied my claim?
Claim denials are common. Do not lose hope. The disability attorneys at Berger and Green can help you determine the reason for your denial and help you file an appeal. There are various appeals levels we can go through to recover your benefits.
The appeals process is complicated and can be time-consuming and expensive. Having an attorney can help you navigate the difficult appeals process.
Call Berger and Green to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today: 412-661-1400.