Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits for Individuals with HIV/AIDS
Social Security Disability and HIV/AIDS
While it’s not the death sentence it was in the ‘80s and ‘90s, HIV and AIDS is still something you don’t want to live with. Besides the societal shame in having the disease, despite the circumstances of how you contracted it, the gradual failing of your immune system can lead to an early grave if not treated properly, and those who have it may wonder if they qualify for a disability. After all, many of the symptoms make it hard for a person to work, and you don’t want to be in a work environment where you’re prone to disease.
So is it possible for someone with HIV or AIDS to prove they are disabled and get compensation?
It is possible, but there are some circumstances. You won’t automatically get disability coverage just because you have it.
As of this article, you need to prove a few circumstances before you’re eligible for coverage. Obviously, you’ll need to provide medical documentation that proves you have HIV or AIDS. Then, you’ll need to prove the severity of your condition.
Here are some examples. You must have one or more of the following.
- You must be hospitalized three times or more in a yearlong period. The hospitalizations have to be a month apart and last at least two days.
- HIV infections that repeatedly happen and impede your abilities to function in society.
- Lymphoma. This includes central nervous system and primary effusion.
- Castleman disease.
- CD4 count that has less than 50 cells/mm3
There are more details than just the above. These are merely examples. If you want to look at the full details, you should visit the Social Security website and find out more.
You should also talk to your doctor.
You may think you meet the criteria, but your doctor may have a second opinion, or vice versa. When you talk to a doctor, make sure they’re familiar with the new criteria. Since 2017, the government has implemented new criteria when proving disability from HIV or AIDS. If you try to prove disability based on outdated criteria, you may lose your case.
Living with HIV or AIDS can be difficult, but by qualifying for a disability, it can make life easier. If you have either disease, talk to some professionals today and weigh your options. You may be able to live a better life.