According to the American Liver Foundation, more than 30 million Americans suffer some form of liver disease. Medical qualifying for disability is "automatic" when a disease is chronic or advanced, including cases needing a liver transplant, albeit you must still make an application and present medical documents to support your claim.
Disability Symptoms for Hepatic Encephalopathy
A neurological ailment induced by severe liver disease is hepatic encephalopathy. Toxins build up in the blood when the liver fails to function properly. Toxins have the ability to infiltrate the brain and alter brain function. Patients with hepatic encephalopathy may look bewildered. Toxins can be removed from the body through treatments, and this temporary condition can be reversed.
Hepatic encephalopathy is a neurological (nervous system) disorder caused by chronic, severe liver disease that is usually temporary. These toxins (substances created by the breakdown of food, alcohol, narcotics, and even muscle) are difficult for a diseased liver to eliminate from the bloodstream. Toxins build up in the body and go to the brain. Toxicity interferes with cognitive function and causes cognitive impairment.
Types of Hepatic Encephalopathy
Hepatic encephalopathy is classified into three types:
Type A is caused by abrupt liver failure (without underlying chronic liver disease).
Type B occurs in persons who have a shunt connecting two veins inside the liver but do not have underlying liver disease.
Type C is caused by persistent liver illness and scarring (cirrhosis).
SSDI for Hepatic Encephalopathy
You may qualify for SSDI for Hepatic Encephalopathy if you meet liver damage symptoms under SSA's Blue Book of Listings [5.02] or symptoms for cognitive impairment [12.02].
The Social Security Administration would require a duplicate of your medical documentation, including clinical and laboratory data. The paperwork should include appropriate medically acceptable imaging studies and records of endoscopy, surgeries, and pathology, as applicable to each listing, to illustrate the severity and duration of your digestive condition. Medically authorized imaging includes X-ray imaging, sonography, computerized axial tomography (CAT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and radionuclide scans.
To qualify for disability, you must be able to prove to the SSA that your disability is indeed 'severe enough' to prevent you from working under substantial gainful activity (SGA) or perform daily functioning activities. You must have significant medical records to prove the following conditions associated with your hepatic encephalopathy.
- I. Hemorrhaging from esophageal, gastric, or ectopic varices or from portal hypertensive gastropathy proven by endoscopy, x-ray, or other appropriate medically acceptable imaging tests. *Note that the condition must have lasted atleast for a year requiring hospitalization for transfusion of at least 2 units of blood.
- II. Ascites or hydrothorax when taking medicine as indicated, shown on at least two exams at least 60 days apart during a 6-month period, unrelated to other factors Each evaluation must be accompanied by documentation from the following sources:
- - Paracentesis or thoracentesis; or
- - Appropriate medically acceptable imaging or physical examination and one of the following:]
b. International Normalized Ratio (INR) of at least 1.5.
III. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis with peritoneal fluid containing an absolute neutrophil count of at least 250 cells/mm3
- IV.Hepatorenal syndrome
- - Oliguria is defined as a 24-hour urine production of less than 500 mL
- - With urine sodium fewer than 10 mEq per litre, sodium retention occurs
- - A serum creatinine increase of at least 2 mg/dL is required.
- V.Hepatopulmonary syndrome
- - Arterial oxygenation (PaO2) on room air of
- a.60 mm Hg or less, at test sites less than 3000 feet above sea level
- b.55 mm Hg or less, at test sites from 3000 to 6000 feet, or
- c.50 mm Hg or less, at test sites above 6000 feet; or
- d.Documentation of intrapulmonary arteriovenous shunting using contrast-enhanced echocardiography or a lung perfusion scan with macroaggregated albumin.
- VI.Hepatic Encepalopathy
- - Documentation of aberrant behaviour, cognitive dysfunction, changes in mental status, or altered state of consciousness (for example, confusion, delirium, stupor, or coma), evident on at least two examinations at least 60 days apart over a sequential 6-month period; and
- a.History of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) or any surgical portosystemic shunt; or
- b.One of the following occurring on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart within the same consecutive 6-month period as in F1:
- i.Asterixis or other fluctuating physical neurological abnormalities; or
- ii.Electroencephalogram (EEG) demonstrating triphasic slow wave activity; or
- iii.International Normalized Ratio (INR) of 1.5 or greater; or
- iv.Serum albumin of 3.0 g/dL or less
**You could speed up your qualification process if you meet all of the symptoms among the above. Lastly, if you have End stage liver disease with SSA CLD scores of 22 or greater calculated as described in 5.00D11 you are immediately eligible to receive SSDI benefits provided you have adequate medical documentation to prove it.