Liver disease can be disabling. This is especially true in the advanced stages. Cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis, and other chronic liver disease can be disabling. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which oversees disability benefits, allows disability benefits for different kinds of liver disorders just so long as the medical criteria are met, and hard medical evidence is supplied to prove the severity of the condition and the extent of the limitations and restrictions. If you are the caregiver for a loved one with liver disease that is disabling, you may be able to help them apply for disability benefits.
How Your Loved One Can Medically Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits
The SSA uses Disability Determination Services (DDS) to review disability claims and to determine if medical records confirm the claimant’s inability to work and earn a living. Detailed medical records should include the diagnosis, the restrictions and limitations, the severity of symptoms, and all test results and treatment plans. A medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, is used to determine if the claimant qualifies for benefits.
To qualify for disability because of liver disease, you will need to meet the criteria of one of the listings that apply to liver conditions. Listing 5.05 covers hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other chronic liver disorders. Listing 5.09 applies to liver transplants. And, if liver disease causes severe weight loss but the claimant doesn’t qualify through one of the other listings, then Listing 5.08 may be used. Sometimes liver disorders can lead to complications of other body systems, and if the claimant has other medical conditions then the overall health of the claimant can be considered and the SSA will consult multiple listings in the Blue Book to see if the individual could qualify through a different listing.
Becoming A Designated Payee
Sometimes a disabled person needs help, and that is where a caregiver comes into play. As caregiver, you may also be asked to handle the disability checks of your loved one, so you may be named designated payee. Disability checks can be used to cover living expenses and the cost of medical care. Keep receipts for utilities, rent, groceries, copays, and prescriptions. The SSA can issue an inquiry to confirm that the funds are being used properly and for the benefit of the claimant who was approved because of the liver disease.
How To Get Your Loved One’s Disability Application Underway
If you are the caregiver of someone who has liver disease that is disabling, you can help them with their disability claim by creating a detailed list of all medical providers with contact details and by filing the paperwork to get the claim underway. The application can be filed online, over the phone, or in person. Online applications can be filed at ssa.gov, to start over the phone call 1-800-772-1213, or you can visit a local SSA field office to meet with a SSA representative.