How Sickle Cell Patients May Qualify for Disability

How Sickle Cell Patients Qualify for Disability

Sickle cell anemia is among the most commonly diagnosed blood disorders in the United States, affecting approximately 100,000 Americans. It occurs in 1 out of every 365 black or African-American births.

This inherited disease is expensive to treat. The primary expenses involve health care and medications. But additional expenses, including care, premature mortality and lost productivity, are also costly. The Centers for Disease Control reports that medical expenditures for children with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) averaged $11,702 annually. For adults with sickle cell anemia, it can be even higher.

While not all sickle cell patients will qualify for Social Security disability benefits, some will. These benefits can help SCD patients receive necessary care and support. Read on to see if you may qualify.

What Criteria Determines Whether Sickle Cell Patients May Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to diagnosed sickle cell anemia patients and certain dependents. However, you must first meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a legitimate SCD or hematological disorder diagnosis. Most often, this requires a laboratory report or definitive test your physician signed. If you don’t have a laboratory report of a definitive test, the SSA may accept a persuasive report from your physician. Read more here on what exact diagnosis and medical evidence you may need to apply.
  • You must be able to prove your hematological disorder makes you unable to work. Or that you cannot function normally due to your disorder. Pain, severe fatigue, your treatment, or side effects from your treatment can all affect your ability to work. Your impairment’s severity should determine whether or not you may qualify. The SSA considers all medical and nonmedical evidence in determining your condition’s severity.

In order to satisfy the SSA’s requirements, you must show a “marked” level of limitation in one of these three areas:

  1. Activities of daily living
  2. Social functioning
  3. Difficulties in completing tasks due to problems with concentration, persistence, or pace

You must have worked in jobs where you paid Social Security taxes long enough (and recently enough) to qualify for SSDI. Work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. And you can earn up to four credits a year. It depends on when you became disabled, but you generally need 40 credits.

Legal Assistance Can Improve Your Odds of Winning Benefits

It’s vital to provide the SSA with timely, accurate and complete information. Especially since receiving the benefits in a timely manner can help alleviate the economic struggles associated with SCD. But the laws surrounding SCD and Social Security benefits are notoriously difficult to navigate. The diagnosis and sickle cell symptoms are extensive and vary from individual to individual. Not knowing what you must include and how to obtain convincing evidence can slow your sickle cell disability claim.

Consider speaking to an experienced disability attorney or advocate. They will help you obtain all the medical and nonmedical evidence the SSA requires. They can also help you get help treating your impairment. Click the button below to start your free, no-obligation disability benefits evaluation now.

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