Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver that is caused by the HBV virus. Symptoms include fatigue, itching, nausea, jaundice, joint pain, and abdominal pain. Many people who contract hepatitis B are able to fight off the disease and make a complete recovery. Some are not. These patients will develop chronic hepatitis B.
Chronic hepatitis B can cause inflammation and scarring of the liver. This condition is known as cirrhosis. Untreated cirrhosis can lead to liver failure. This can be fatal.
Social Security does not have a separate disability listing for hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is evaluated under the chronic liver disease disability listing. To qualify under this listing you must have evidence of at least one of the following:
- Esophageal varices (expanded blood vessels in the esophagus and/or stomach)
- Internal bleeding
- Ascites (accumulation of pathologic fluid in the abdomen)
- Hypoalbuminemia (low levels of the protein albumin)
- Encephalopathy (confusion or altered consciousness caused by liver malfunction)
- High levels of bilirubin in the blood
Most people with hepatitis B will not meet the listing for chronic liver disease. However, you may still qualify for SSDI if your ability to work is impaired by your combined medical conditions or the side effects of your medications. If you suffer extreme nausea and vomiting, need to rest during the day, or have severely achy joints and muscles, it can be hard to hold a job. Speak to your doctor about your limitations so they are documented in your medical records.
If you are unable to work, but don’t meet a disability listing, a Boston SSDI attorney can help you document your medical condition and get the benefits you need. Learn more in Massachusetts disability lawyer John Keefe’s book, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability, or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.