The Social Security Administration (SSA) is one place to turn for individuals who are facing a loss of income because of a serious health condition. Social Security disability benefits are often a lifeline for those who can no longer work due to a disabling health condition.
The SSA maintains an online list of medical conditions that might qualify someone for financial assistance called the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, or the “Blue Book.” The Blue Book serves as a guide for medical professionals and Social Security administrators to help them understand what conditions are severe enough to warrant a disability designation.
How Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits with Kidney Failure?
The kidneys play several vital roles in the body, and individuals with kidney disease face a very uncertain future. Kidney diseases are assessed under the genitourinary disorders
section (6.00) of the Blue Book.
To be considered for disability benefits for renal failure, individuals must fit one of the following criteria:
A. Be undergoing chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis that has lasted or is expected to continue for at least one year.
B. Have undergone a kidney transplant, in which an individual is automatically considered disabled for one year from the date of the operation.
C. Experience severe exacerbations of kidney disease that have required at least three 48- hour hospitalizations within a consecutive 12-month period, occurring at least 30 days apart.
What Medical Evidence Do I Need for My Kidney Failure Claim?
In addition to providing a list of qualifying medical conditions, the Blue Book also includes the medical criteria by which disabled applicants must meet to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Those in kidney failure will need to present medical evidence demonstrating the signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings of their kidney disease.
Individuals with kidney failure are typically followed by a nephrologist, a doctor that specializes in kidney disease. Those seeking disability benefits should provide clinical examinations, treatment records, and documentation of responses to treatments from a nephrologist.
The SSA will want a full report of an individual’s dialysis schedule, including how long the person has been on dialysis, how frequently they require treatment, and how well they are responding to the current regimen. If a kidney transplant has been performed, a full surgical report should be provided to the SSA.
Providing blood work, such as serum creatinine or serum albumin levels, is vital as these tests illustrate kidney function. The SSA will also seek to obtain an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), which demonstrates the filtering ability of the kidney.
Sometimes individuals with kidney failure will undergo imaging tests, such as an ultrasound. All imaging results, including ultrasounds, MRIs, or CT scans, will need to be provided. Finally, the SSA will want to obtain information, such as a pathology report, on any kidney or bone biopsies that may have been performed.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me with My Kidney Failure Claim?
Without dialysis or a kidney transplant, end-stage renal disease does not have a good prognosis. Individuals in kidney failure are typically unable to perform many activities of daily living, including work. As such, those facing renal failure should immediately seek financial assistance from the SSA.
An experienced disability lawyer has likely dealt with kidney failure claims before and knows exactly what medical evidence is needed to support just such a claim. A Social Security lawyer or disability advocate can assist in the application process, including helping with any appeals that might need to occur.
As the Social Security disability process is complex, hiring a qualified attorney is your best bet when it comes to winning your kidney failure claim. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation to be connected with a lawyer today!