Each and every individual needs sufficient levels of iron in their blood to maintain good health. Unfortunately, too much iron is a bad thing and it can lead to a number of different health complications. Haemochromatosis causes an iron overload and results in damage to the body's organs. If you have been diagnosed with haemochromatosis and are unable to work due to the condition, the financial burdens can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can help may be of some assistance. If you have been diagnosed with haemochromatosis and are wondering how the condition affects your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information will shed light on how the SSA reviews claims based on the diagnosis.
Further Reading: What Conditions Qualify For Disability?
Haemochromatosis Condition and Symptoms
Haemochromatosis is an overload of iron in the blood. There are four forms of the disease, including: primary haemochromatosis, secondary haemochromatosis, juvenile haemochromatosis and neonatal haemochromatosis. With primary haemochromatosis (also referred to as hereditary haemochromatosis), the disease is inherited with genetics playing the primary role in the development of the condition. With secondary haemochromatosis, the condition can be caused by a variety of disorders including anemia and alcoholism. In juvenile haemochromatosis, the condition leads to severe iron buildups, as well as heart and liver disease in individuals between the ages of 15 and 30. With neonatal haemochromatosis, the disease causes a rapid buildup of iron in a baby's liver, which can be fatal.
When an individual develops haemochromatosis, the disease causes the body to absorb too much iron. In healthy people, approximately 10 percent of the iron found in the foods they eat is absorbed into the body. People who suffer from haemochromatosis absorb up to 30 percent of their dietary iron. This overload of iron results in damage to the body's organs. Without proper treatment, the disease can eventually cause the pancreas, heart and liver to fail.
The symptoms of haemochromatosis vary depending on the severity of the condition. Joint pain is the most common symptom of the condition. Other symptoms include lack of energy, general fatigue, abdominal pain, decreased sex-drive and heart problems. If the disease is not detected quickly and treated properly, complications such as arthritis, liver disease, pancreatic damage, heart damage, early menopause, skin discoloration, thyroid deficiency, adrenal gland damage and impotence may develop.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Haemochromatosis
The Social Security Administration does recognize haemochromatosis under Section 5.0 of the SSA's disability guidelines. However, a diagnosis of the condition itself will not automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Because all cases of haemochromatosis are different, the SSA reviews claims based on this diagnosis on a case-by-case basis.
Further Reading: What Is SSI?
When filing a disability claim due to haemochromatosis, you will need to prove to the Social Security Administration that the disease and any resulting complications completely prevent you from performing any type of work activity. For example, if your case of haemochromatosis has resulted in liver failure, it will be much easier for you to qualify for benefits than an individual who suffers from the condition but does not present any apparent symptoms.
In order to increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits due to haemochromatosis, you will want to provide the Social Security Administration with a complete copy of your medical records and you will need to prove that your condition prevents you from performing any type of work activity whatsoever. To facilitate your disability claim, be sure to answer all of the questions on the residual functional capacity forms very clearly and in detail. This will help the adjudicator who is reviewing your file understand how your condition interferes with your ability to maintain full-time work.
Haemochromatosis and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you have enough medical evidence to prove that your case of haemochromatosis completely prevents you from performing any type of work activity, then your application for Social Security Disability benefits may be approved during the initial stage of the application process. If, however, there is any question as to whether or not your condition affects your ability to work, it is likely that your claim for benefits will be denied. In this case, you will need to pursue the Social Security Disability appeal process.
When filing a disability appeal to overturn the SSA's decision to deny your Social Security Disability benefits, you will want to retain the services of a qualified Social Security Disability advocate or attorney. Quality representation can significantly increase your chances of filing a successful disability appeal. Your representative will understand the laws that pertain to your specific disability case and will represent you properly before the administrative law judge at your disability hearing.
To learn more about filing for SSD benefits due to a diagnosis of haemochromatosis or to learn more about working with a Social Security Disabitliy attorney or advocate, click here for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.