As your symptoms worsen, primary sclerosing cholangitis can make it difficult or impossible to continue working. Fatigue, digestive issues, fevers, and other complications may lead you to quit your job or miss too much work. If you can prove your condition prevents you from earning a living, you may qualify for Social Security Disability for primary sclerosing cholangitis. Your disability benefits could come from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
At Berger and Green, we can help you get monthly disability payments for your primary sclerosing cholangitis if you meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) criteria. We know what the SSA looks for in a qualifying claim and will double-check your application before you apply. If the SSA already denied your benefits, we can manage the appeals process for you. We will represent you during your Pittsburgh appeals hearing and fight for the benefits you need and deserve. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 for your free consultation.
Is Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis a Qualifying Impairment for Disability?
The SSA publishes a book of impairment listings, sometimes called the Blue Book. This book outlines the criteria you must meet to qualify for disability based on your diagnosis. The criteria for primary sclerosing cholangitis are in Section 5.05 – Chronic Liver Disease.
To qualify for benefits, you must have medical documentation showing:
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging that causes changes in your blood pressure and requires a blood transfusion; or
- Fluid in the abdomen that occurs at least twice 60 days apart during a six-month period, despite treatment; or
- Bacterial peritonitis; or
- Renal failure linked to liver disease; or
- Shortness of breath and low oxygen levels in the blood; or
- Hepatic encephalopathy; or
- End-stage liver disease.
If you are not sure your condition meets one of these criteria, you can learn more by discussing your application with your doctor. They can explain if you meet this impairment listing or if you might qualify based on another medical condition you have. They can also ensure you have all necessary tests and imaging scans in your medical records. Your medical evidence is key in proving you meet the guidelines in the Blue Book.
Getting Benefits Without Meeting an Impairment Listing
Even if you do not meet the criteria under an impairment listing, you could still get disability based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC is an evaluation of your ability to perform a number of everyday tasks, including those necessary for self-care and working. They include things like lifting, squatting, sitting, standing, and mobility.
There are three ways the SSA will determine your RFC:
- The disability examiner assigns you one based on your medical records and other medical evidence;
- Your doctor completes an evaluation form at the request of the SSA; or
- The SSA asks you to undergo a consultative medical exam with an independent physician.
If your RFC shows you cannot return to your previous job or work another job, you likely meet the SSA’s definition of disabled and will qualify for benefits.
Technical Criteria for Getting Disability Benefits
Many people focus on proving they have a qualifying impairment and do not put much thought into the other criteria for getting disability. However, the local SSA field office will check to make sure you meet the technical qualifications of the disability program before allowing your application to move forward in the process. If you leave one of these questions blank or the proof is not readily available, you may receive a technical denial.
There are two major technical qualifications you must meet to get SSDI. To qualify, you must:
- Earn under the substantial gainful activity (SGA) monthly income limit; and
- Have worked long enough to earn the required number of work credits.
Requirements of the SSI Program
SSI is a need-based program. As such, it has strict income limits for those who qualify. In addition, you must have limited assets and few available resources. There are some exemptions, such as your home and your car, but it is very difficult to qualify for SSI benefits.
Our attorneys can review your work history, financial records, and other information to determine if you qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits.
Appealing the SSA’s Decision on Your Claim
Many people who receive disability benefits get them through the appeals process. This comes as a shock to many people, but the SSA denies the majority of applicants. If this happens to you, do not panic. You have 60 days from the date of the notice to request an appeals hearing.
If you are not sure how to proceed or simply want someone to handle the process for you, give us a call. We know what a successful appeal looks like. We can help qualified clients get the monthly benefits and the back benefits they deserve.
When we file an appeal, we are asking for a hearing date in front of an Administrative Law Judge with the authority to uphold or overturn your denial. It may take several months before the date of your appeals hearing arrives, so we have plenty of time to get to the bottom of why the SSA denied your claim. We can request copies of your medical records and study your condition closer to the time of your hearing.
When the date of the hearing arrives, we present your case to the administrative law judge. We are able to get most of our clients approved for benefits during this hearing. If not, there are other options we can pursue to get you the disability you deserve.
Talk to a Pittsburgh Disability Attorney About Getting Benefits for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
Berger and Green know how hard it can be to pay your bills and take care of your family when you cannot work due to primary sclerosing cholangitis. We can help you double-check your initial claim or file an appeal if the SSA already denied your application. Let us review your application or file an appeal on your behalf. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation.