People living with the auto-immune diseases of HIV or AIDS may qualify for disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These Social Security disability diseases must be expected to last for at least one year or result in death. In addition, the medical condition must be deemed serious enough to prevent the individual from performing substantial gainful work. The SSA devotes an entire publication to Social Security for people with HIV-AIDS.
Social Security Disability Insurance (or SSDI) is available for people who have paid social security taxes. Most people earn a maximum of four Social Security credits each year and the number of years of work required to qualify for disability benefits depends on the age of the individual at time of disability. In general, five years of work are required during the ten years prior to the year of disability but younger workers require fewer years of work.
SSDI benefit applications from people with HIV or AIDS are processed by the SSA as quickly as possible. The amount of monthly benefits is based on how much the individual earned while working. After receiving SSDI benefits for 24 months, the individual will qualify for Medicare. This will help pay for lab tests, home health care, hospice, hospital care, and other medical services.
An AIDS disability must be severe enough to significantly limit the ability to perform the basic activities required by most jobs. An HIV infection must be caused by a specific retrovirus. It may be characterized by the susceptibility to one or multiple cancers, opportunistic diseases, or other conditions noted in SSA Medical Listing 14.08. An individual with an HIV infection including AIDS may be deemed disabled if the impairment meets any criteria listed in 14.08 or has a severity equivalent to 14.08.
The 14.08 listing includes bacterial infections, fungal infections, viral infections, helminthic or protozoan infections, and malignant neoplasms in specific locations that meet certain conditions. Included are pulmonary tuberculosis that resists treatment, lymphoma, aspergillosis, and syphilis. Hemotologic and neurological abnormalities are also listed in 14.08 and include anemia and HIV encephalopathy.
When seeking SSDI benefits for these types of disabilities, individuals should gain a greater understanding of the relevant definition of disability. If their conditions meet the criteria, they should provide substantiating medical documentation. An SSDI attorney can help a person with HIV or AIDS prepare and submit a comprehensive application that stands the best chance of approval.