End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is a disease with no cure. And the only way to survive this devastating illness is to receive a kidney transplant. But until that happens, patients must rely on a dialysis machine that does what healthy kidneys normally do. According to the National Kidney Foundation, almost 500,000 Americans currently require a dialysis machine. This painful and debilitating treatment makes working nearly impossible, which affects patients and their families. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two disability benefit programs that can help patients requiring regular dialysis machine treatments.
How Dialysis Machine Patients Qualify for SSDI
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) with dialysis, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your treatment must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months.
- If you are undergoing chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, your CKD may meet the SSA’s definition of disability before you started dialysis. The SSA will determine your disability based on your case record.
- You must provide documentation from an accepted medical source. This should detail your current dialysis, and indicate that your dialysis will be ongoing.
Because ESRD is a life-threatening condition, expedited SSDI payments are available. The file must contain a completed CMS-2728-U3 End Stage Renal Disease Medical Evidence Report.
Should Dialysis Machine Patients Apply for SSDI or SSI?
Whether or not dialysis machine patients should apply for SSDI or SSI depends entirely on their work history. Applicants are required to provide work history and tax information when they apply. The SSA then uses this information to determine the following:
- How much money you have paid in Social Security taxes in the past
- How your condition has affected your ability to work
- What programs you may qualify for
If you have enough “credits,” or taxes paid to the SSA, SSDI may be a better option. An individual with no work history would be better suited for SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
You can apply for SSDI online at the SSA’s website or at a local field office. Applying for SSI, however, requires an appointment with an SSA representative. But rest assured, if you need a dialysis machine, you qualify for one or the other. And due to your disease’s severity, you may also qualify for expedited benefits.
Dialysis Machine Treatments and Medicare
Federal law requires that Medicare covers all patients with ESRD. This includes adults and children. Medicare eligibility based on ESRD works differently than other types of Medicare coverage. If you have ESRD and don’t enroll right away, you may be eligible for 12 months of retroactive coverage. If you’re on a dialysis machine when you enroll in Medicare, coverage usually starts on your fourth treatment month. To apply for Medicare, visit your local Social Security office. You can also call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to begin your application.
You May Qualify for Free Legal Assistance
Still have questions? Consider speaking to one of our experienced disability attorneys or advocates. They’ll help you with your application so you can further expedite your benefits. They’ll also be able to answer questions about which programs you may be eligible for. Click the button below to start your free, no-obligation disability benefits evaluation now:
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.