People living with Hepatitis often suffer from complications that affect liver function. If liver problems are severe enough to affect a person’s ability to reasonably perform tasks at work, the individual may qualify for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Hepatitis is a condition caused by a viral infection that is defined by an inflammation of the liver. There are five types of hepatitis, but the two types that can potentially qualify a person for SSDI benefits will be focused upon.
Hepatitis B is a virus that is transmitted through bodily fluids. Most people have an immune system that is able to handle the virus without any lasting effects, but people with a weakened immune system may suffer from the condition for the rest of their lives.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B include jaundice, fatigue, nausea and difficulty sleeping. Since the viral infection is related to the liver, people with chronic Hepatitis B can experience liver cancer or failure.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that is most often transmitted through blood. People who are at risk of transmitting Hepatitis C include people who are exposed to blood in the workplace, kidney dialysis patients and intravenous drug users.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C may take time to appear after transmission of the infection has occurred. Stomach pain, jaundice, internal bleeding, fatigue and nausea are common symptoms. Severe cases of the infection can lead to liver cancer.
Although there are medications available that can treat Hepatitis C, these medications can cause serious side effects that significantly reduce the quality of life of the patient.
Both Hepatitis B and C can cause symptoms that are so severe that a person’s ability to work is affected. Liver problems related to either of these viral infections can cause a person to become unable to work at all. When this happens, the sufferer will need to determine whether they qualify for SSDI benefits.
There are two ways for people with Hepatitis B or C to qualify for SSDI benefits.
In order for a person with Hepatitis B or C to automatically qualify for disability benefits in accordance with the requirements of the listing of the Social Security Administration (SSA), the person must be diagnosed with chronic liver disease.
However, simply being diagnosed with chronic liver disease is not enough for automatic qualification. Complications related to the disease including gastrointestinal hemorrhaging and end stage liver disease must be experienced.
Reduced Residual Functional Capacity
A person who is not eligible for benefits according to the SSA listing may still be able to collect SSDI benefits in relation to Hepatitis B or C. Medical documentation of symptoms of the condition and side effects that are suffered as a result of taking medication for the condition must be available.
A combination of these symptoms and side effects of medication can qualify a person for SSDI benefits. Being physically unable to stand or sit for more than 10 minutes, an inability to lift more than 10 pounds and reduced cognitive abilities will all be taken into consideration.