This year alone, the Social Security Administration is expected to receive at least three million disability claims from disabled American workers. Unfortunately, approximately 70 percent of these claims will be denied during the initial stage of the application process, resulting in the need for a complicated disability appeal. In many cases, understanding how the SSA reviews disability claims that are based on a specific diagnosis and how that condition may affect your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits can increase your chances of being approved for benefits. This information can also make the claim process far less stressful. If you have been diagnosed with Gilbert's Syndrome and would like to know how you can increase your chances of being awarded the benefits you are entitled to while making the process as stress-free as possible, the following information will help.
Gilbert's Syndrome Condition and Symptoms
Gilbert's Syndrome, also referred to as GS or Gilbert-Meulengracht Syndrome, is the most common hereditary cause of hyperbilirubinemia (or increased bilirubin in the body). The reason for the increased bilirubin is due to a decrease in the body's glucuronyltransferase enzyme activity. This enzyme conjugates the bilirubin in the body and makes the substance water-soluble. Once this happens, the bilirubin can be excreted in bile and then into the body's duodenum. When there is a lack of this enzyme or enzyme activity, the bilirubin cannot be conjugated and cannot be excreted from the body.
While most cases of Gilbert's Syndrome are mild and do not cause any serious symptoms (or any symptoms at all), some cases of this disorder can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life. In some cases, Gilbert's Syndrome can result in serious symptoms such as chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and weight loss.
While not everyone who is diagnosed with Gilbert's Syndrome will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, those who are diagnosed with the disease and are experiencing severe and life-impacting symptoms should apply for Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration to help alleviate the financial stress caused by the condition.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Gilbert's Syndrome
The Social Security Administration has a published listing of medical conditions that is referred to as the “Blue Book”. While Gilbert's Syndrome is not included in the SSA's listing of impairments, you may still be able to obtain Social Security Disability benefits if you are suffering severe effects due to this condition.
Technically, Gilbert's Syndrome falls under Section 5.0 of the SSA's disability guidelines, which refers to disorders of the digestive system. However, you will need to prove that your condition's symptoms equal the criteria of a published medical listing or that you are completely unable to work due to the limitations your disability places on you if you hope to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Your condition may qualify under the SSA's published Medical Listings if your CLD score is 22 or higher. The CLD is a formula used by the Social Security Administration to determine the severity of a chronic liver condition. If your score is 22 or higher, you can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. To determine an applicant's CLD score, specific medical tests are required and the results of those tests are used in a mathematical formula. To determine an individual's CLD score, the following formula is used:
9.57 x [Loge(serum creatinine mg/dL)]
+3.78 x [Loge(serum total bilirubin mg/dL)]
+11.2 x [Loge(INR)]
If your score is 22 or higher using this formula, you will qualify for benefits under the SSA's determining guidelines. If your score does not equal 22 or higher, you may still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but you will need to prove that your case of Gilbert's Syndrome is completely preventing you from performing any type of work activity.
Gilbert's Syndrome and Your Social Security Disability Case
Because Gilbert's Syndrome is not specifically mentioned in the SSA's disability guidelines and most cases of the disorder are not severe, it may be a challenge for you to obtain Social Security Disability benefits. Chances are that your initial claim for benefits will not be approved by the Social Security Administration and you will need to pursue the disability appeal process.
When filing a disability appeal, it is in your best interests to obtain the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. These professionals will understand the laws that pertain to your specific disability case and will be able to present your case in the best light possible to the administrative law judge who will be in charge of your disability hearing. While you can technically represent yourself at this hearing, your chances of actually being awarded Social Security Disability benefits are significantly increased with professional representation.
To learn more about filing for SSD benefits with Gilbert's Syndrome or to learn more about working with a Social Security Disability lawyer, simply fill out the form for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.