Cirrhosis is more prevalent now than it has ever been in both the United States and the rest of the world. Despite best efforts, cirrhosis remains incurable without a liver transplant, leaving many with the painful side effects of this disorder.
However, because cirrhosis can vary from person to person, it can occasionally be difficult to get disability benefits for this disorder. Continue below to learn how you can continue moving forward in the process.
Potential Causes for Denial
Cirrhosis is one of many different disorders affiliated with the liver. It does not have its own listing in the Social Security Blue Book, which can make it difficult to determine how to qualify with this disorder. This does not mean that people with cirrhosis can’t qualify — it only makes it a bit trickier.
Applicants will occasionally be denied benefits if there are no symptoms of other disorders caused by the cirrhosis. This means that the best way to qualify with cirrhosis is to provide evidence of any other symptoms/disorders caused by your condition. For example, cirrhosis can cause a back-up of infected blood in the liver’s main artery, which can go on to infect other organs like the kidneys. Hemorrhaging is also common in those with advanced cirrhosis due to the build-up of scar tissue. Speak with your physician to learn more about what other disorders your cirrhosis may be linked to.
Another reason you may have been denied benefits is simply due to a lack of evidence. By applying solely for cirrhosis, you may have unintentionally neglected other tests that could provide the SSA with information regarding the state of other surrounding organs. Look over your initial application again to see which areas you may be able to provide more testing or explanation, and be sure to focus on those areas going forward in the process.
Preparing for Your Hearing
Disability hearings are the next step for those who had their initial claims denied. In a disability hearing, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will read over your initial application and review any other evidence you have brought to support your case. After hearing your side, they will determine whether or not to overturn your case decision and start providing benefits. Depending on your location, the wait time for disability hearings can be rather long. To play it safe, schedule your hearing as soon as possible, and prepare during the months before your hearing.
When preparing new evidence, be sure to speak with your physician to figure out what tests may be appropriate. MRIs, CT scans, blood tests, or tissue samples are all likely to provide helpful diagnoses. You can also receive testimonies from people like therapists, old bosses, coworkers, or close loved ones that can attest to the severity of your disorder. When in doubt, always prepare more evidence than you think you’ll need.
Considering a Disability Attorney
It is understandable for the word “attorney” to make you cautious. However, disability attorneys exist solely to help people like you build strong cases arguing for disability benefits. Their legal expertise can help you to navigate the courtroom with far less pressure than if you were representing yourself.
Possibly the best thing about disability attorneys is that they work on “contingency”, meaning they are not allowed to take payment for their services unless you win your case. Even then, their payment is limited to 20% of your initial earnings amount, meaning you never pay with money you don’t have.
Consider a free consultation with a disability attorney before your hearing to give yourself the best chance at getting disability benefits.