Over the past few months, you have felt exceedingly drained and have been experiencing sharp pains in your joints. You have been taking large doses of ibuprofen but nothing seems to help. You’re too scared to go the doctor because you’re afraid of what he may tell you.
Both of your grandfathers, two uncles, and a cousin all tragically died from sickle cell complications. This disease has been a harbinger of death in your family for too long, and you’re terrified that the pain you’re suffering could mean you have the disease. Therefore, you’ve been reluctant to get tested—that is, until your sister called and insisted on it because she had just been diagnosed herself.
After a terrifying wait at the doctor’s office and an additional two days to get the results, your worst fears were realized. You did indeed have sickle cell disease.
Your sister came over after you found out and you discussed the future. You discussed treatment, care and expenses, as well as the possibility of quitting your jobs. Her doctor informed her that she should be getting a lot more rest and taking care of her health more, and suggested going on disability. Although you agreed and think that you should both decrease your stress and increase relaxation, you’re not sure you can afford to quit your job.
What can you do? You can’t just not have an income; but then again, working is quickly becoming unbearable. Can you qualify for disability?
Blood Disorders Recognized by the SSA Disability Blue Book
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for determining whether an ailment, disorder, or disease is severe enough to keep you from adequately supporting yourself financially. After diligent investigation and review of your case, it will determine whether you qualify for disability benefits under the government’s requirements. However, qualification depends on several key factors, including recognition within the SSA blue book (list of ailments proven to be disabling), severity of the ailment, and how it may affect your ability to support yourself through work.
Eligibility for SSA benefits for blood disorders is evaluated based on the individual’s ability to adjust and function during specific “episodes.” Depending on the disorder, episodes can vary from blood hypoxia (decreased oxygen level in the blood), to excessive bleeding, to decreased blood flow and organ failure. Unfortunately, if the body cannot properly control or compensate for these issues, many blood disorders can cause dangerous side effects that will not only affect work productivity, but could also cause severe physical damage.
Although some hematological issues that are not listed can still be classified as disabling impairments, the blue book specifically recognizes the following disabling blood disorders as candidates for SSA benefits:
- Anemia: condition in which you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues
- Sickle cell disease: a serious disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped red blood cells which can block normal blood and oxygen flow
- Chronic thrombocytopenia: a disorder in which there is a relative decrease of platelets (thrombocytes) in the blood
- Hereditary telangiectasia: a genetic disorder that results in the development of multiple abnormalities in the blood vessels
- Coagulation defects: disorders that either reduces the blood’s ability to clot (hemophilia) or cause dangerously excessive clotting (hyper-coagulation)
- Polycythemia vera: disorder of the bone marrow that causes too many red blood cells to be produced
- Myelofibrosis: serious bone marrow disorder that disrupts your body's normal production of blood cells
- Chronic granulocytopenia: disease that drastically decreases white blood cells, resulting in increased risk of skin infections
- Aplastic anemia: disease in which the bone marrow and the blood stem cells that reside there are damaged
According to the Centers for Disease Control, millions of people across the United States suffer from some sort of debilitating blood disorder. Are you one of these inflicted?
If you have been recently diagnosed with a blood disorder and feel that you should be entitled to disability benefits, contact us today. Our extensive experience with the SSA and disability process will help you get the financial support you need to survive, without putting your health at risk. Call today for a free consultation and see how we can help you.
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