If you have HIV/AIDS and are unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Many people think that an HIV diagnosis is enough to be found disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but the truth is that it can be difficult to be approved for disability benefits if you have HIV/AIDS because medication often keeps individuals with HIV/AIDS functioning at a high level. To be eligible for benefits, your HIV/AIDS must be serious enough to prevent you from doing substantial gainful work and your inability to work must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
Thanks to advances in medicine, many people with HIV/AIDS today lead fairly normal lives. So, one thing the SSA will look at when evaluating your case is whether you're taking your medication as prescribed. Some people simply cannot afford treatment, however, so the SSA will also consider your financial situation when evaluating whether or not you're taking medication.
Many individuals with HIV/AIDS have conditions that prevent them from working and if their impairments meet the SSA's duration requirement, they may be found disabled. Some individuals are asymptomatic and have less severe HIV manifestations, however, so they may not be found disabled. The SSA evaluates each case on an individual basis, evaluating signs, symptoms, laboratory findings, and other information to make a decision. Below is how the SSA evaluates disability claims:
Decide whether you're severely impaired by assessing how your impairment interferes with your ability to work
Determine whether your disability is included in the SSA's list of HIV-related impairments, which includes conditions like candidiasis, carcinoma of the cervix, HIV wasting syndrome, syphilis and neurosyphilis, herpes simplex, and Kaposi's sarcoma
Assess your ability to function in three areas: timely task completion, daily activities, and social situations
Assess your ability to work by evaluating your age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills
If you have HIV/AIDS and plan to apply for Social Security disability benefits, provide documentation of your condition through medical records and laboratory test results. The SSA will also need the names and addresses of doctors, hospitals, and clinics you've been to for treatment. The application process is the same for individuals with HIV/AIDS as it is for those with other medical conditions, but the applications that the SSA receives from people with HIV/AIDS are given priority and are processed as quickly as possible.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with HIV/AIDS?
Louis B. Lusk is an Atlanta Social Security disability lawyer that can help to increase your chances of winning Social Security disability benefits. If you have HIV/AIDS and are going to file a disability claim, call (800) 883-7043 or contact us via our website to set up a free consultation.