Can I work with Chronic Thrombocytopenia?

Chronic Thrombocytopenia is defined as having a low blood platelet count over a prolonged period of time. Blood platelets are clear blood cells which help your blood to clot, stopping bleeding. Having a low blood platelet count causes can cause you to have difficulty stopping bleeding once it starts. In cases when blood platelet count is severely low, it can actually cause internal bleeding in your brain or intestines.

Chronic thrombocytopenia may have any of a number of causes. Autoimmune diseases are often what cause platelet counts to be low, though certain medications and treatments (particularly radiation and chemotherapy) may also cause your blood platelet count to be low. Additionally, genetic and dietary factors can contribute to a low platelet count, leading to chronic thrombocytopenia.

In order for chronic thrombocytopenia to be considered disabling for Social Security Disability purposes, it must be severe. The Blue Book standards used to determine whether you are disabled because of chronic thrombocytopenia include the following:

  • You have had intracranial bleeding (internal bleeding in the head/brain area) within the past year.
  • You have received spontaneous bleeding within five months which was severe enough to require a blood transfusion.

Medical tests are used to determine whether you have chronic thrombocytopenia and its severity. Normal blood platelet counts range from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets for each micro liter of blood. Platelet counts below 150,000 are diagnosed as thrombocytopenia (it is considered “chronic” if the platelet count has been low for three months or longer). To qualify for Social Security Disability, your platelet count must be below 40,000.

Chronic Thrombocytopenia and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work

Any condition which leads to blood clotting can make it difficult to perform physical work. There is an inherent risk in most physical work of being cut, bumped, or bruised. While these routine accidents rarely require a second thought for most people, those who suffer from chronic thrombocytopenia need to be concerned with even small wounds. Since severe chronic thrombocytopenia can cause internal bleeding in the head, any job which may cause jarring, bumping or hitting the head is generally considered outside of what a chronic thrombocytopenia sufferer can reasonably be expected to perform.

Needless to say, this eliminates the majority of jobs which involve physical labor. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, however, you will need to show that you cannot be expected to perform any job which you have performed before or which is available in the country at the time of your disability. This means demonstrating hat your condition prohibits you from performing even light physical work.

Chronic Thrombocytopenia and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work

Proving that you are incapable of performing sedentary (sit down) work is often more difficult than proving inability to perform physical work. If your age or education level indicates that you could reasonably be trained and expected to perform sedentary work which is available, your Social Security Disability claim may be denied.

If your initial Social Security Disability claim is denied or if you have yet to file an initial claim, consider retaining the services of a Social Security Disability lawyer. Having a lawyer represent you streamlines the process because he or she will be familiar with what the Social Security Administration (SSA) is looking for in order to determine your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.

If your blood platelet count or other medical tests don’t quite meet the criteria outlined for Social Security Disability, you may still qualify if you are able to prove that you are incapable of performing any meaningful work. Having an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer on your side can prove invaluable when working through the Social Security Disability appeals process.