As blood carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells and moves waste away from them, it affects every part of our bodies. An illness affecting your blood can be life-threatening. Though not all blood disorders are considered disabilities, disability benefits might be paid for certain conditions. If you have a condition that both affects your blood and prevents you from working, you may want to apply for disability benefits. It may help to understand how programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) determine someone’s disability status.
Common Blood Disorders
Most people have heard of these blood conditions:
- Sickle Cell,
- Hemophilia, and
- Blood cancers like leukemia.
The SSA’s Listing of Impairments (the “Listing”) considers the following hematological disorders, with hematological referring to blood:
- Non-malignant disorders like certain anemias, thrombosis, hemostasis, and bone marrow failure.
- Malignant disorders like lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma.
Blood disorders related to HIV are evaluated under the HIV section of the Listing.
Evaluating Blood Disorders
The SSA’s Listing also notes the type of proof needed for claims involving blood-related medical conditions. Typically, they need to see laboratory reports or other diagnostic tests. Hospitalizations may prove your disability claim. In addition to actual evidence that you have the disorder, the SSA needs to see that you have had or will have the disorder for at least 12 months or that you are expected to die from it. Your condition must prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity, which means earning a certain amount of money each month.
Benefit Programs Guidelines
The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages both SSDI and SSI. Although the programs are similar, the eligibility requirements and benefits are different. However, to qualify for either benefit your medical condition has to satisfy the SSA’s definition of disability:
“To meet our definition of disability, you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s):
- That is expected to result in death, or
- That has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.”
Having a serious medical condition does not automatically result in an award of disability benefits. Your blood disorder must prevent you from working.
Not Sure Whether You Have a Disability?
In addition to a determination of disability, you must have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. However, SSI is based on need, not your work credits.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients receive the disability benefits they deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.