In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you have to prove to the SSA that your HIV/AIDS immunodeficiency virus is 'severe' enough to prevent you from performing daily functional activities.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV destroys the CD4 lymphocytes (type of white blood cell) causing impairment of cell mediated immunity with consequent susceptibility to opportunistic infections.
HIV is present in blood, semen and other body fluids such as breast milk and saliva. Exposure to infected fluids leads to a risk of acquiring infection, which is dependent on integrity of the exposed site, type and volume of body fluid, and viral load. Sexual transmission is one of the major modes of transmission. Injection during transmission of drugs is also a big cause of acquiring the infection. Other factors like deep injury, old gestational age, fetal trauma, vaginal delivery, longer duration of breast feeding and few others.
The most common are primary infection that comprises over 70 to 80 % cases and usually occurs 2-4 weeks after exposure. The prominent features are as follows:
- - Fever
- - Rash over trunk
- - Fatigue
- - Pharyngitis with cervical lymphadenitis
- - Headache and myalgia
- - Mucosal ulceration
- - Neurological presentation (rare) manifesting as aseptic meningitis, encephalitis, polyneuritis
- - Opportunistic infections such as oropharyngeal candidiasis, pneumocystis
Asymptomatic infection follows for a variable period during which the infected individual remains well with no evidence of disease except for possible presence of persistentgeneralized lymphadenopathy. The virus continues to replicate and the person is infectious. The estimated time is 10 years from infection to development of AIDS. Older age is associated with more rapid progression.
How Does Social Security Administration Evaluate Symptoms for HIV-AIDS forSSDI Benefits?
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome AIDS is defined as a development of specified opportunistic infections and tumors. As HIV infection progresses the viral load rises, CD4 count decreases and clinical features as a result of immunosuppression. There are more than 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in the U.S. today, per the Central for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatments for HIV, while more effective today than in the past. They have serious side effects such as nausea, fatigue, anemia, nerve complications and lack of sleep, etc. Trying to work full time while dealing with these effects can be difficult. The effects of the disease and the side effects of treatment often make it impractical to balance employment. If your HIV symptoms and complicationsdisrupt your ability to work, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits, which provide steady income for you to pay bills, cover medical care and manage your everyday life. The SSA definition of disability may vary from some other generally accepted definitions. Just being HIV positive is not considered disability. The symptoms that you may have must leave you unable to earn substantial gainful activity.
Another condition that must be met in order for HIV to be considered a disability is that it is not possible to earn money by learning a new skill or changing jobs, take up skilled, semi-skilled, or unskilled work. This will be taken into consideration things like age and employment history. Following is the criteria that must be met to qualify for SSA:
- - You have developed cancer and that the cancer is in advanced or terminal stage
- - You experience frequent or continuous bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic infections
- - Fluid is accumulated on the brain or brain swelling that cause sever disruption in your ability to perform your work
- - Severe weight loss
- - Persistent Diarrhea that requires to have IV fluids and nutrition via a feeding tube known as NGT for a duration of month or longer
- - If you experience other type of infections such as sinusitis, encephalitis, sepsis that require admission in the hospital
- - Your frequent infections and other complications have severely compromised your activities of daily living also called ADLs
For HIV to qualify for benefits without getting the SSD listing you must have complete medical records reletaed to your condition and to have a doctor that can issue a firm summary statement on our behalf.
If you have been diagnosed with HIV it is quite possible that it can progress to AIDS. HIV when becomes AIDS it can be quite serious with symptoms such as pruritus, drug reaction is common, acute diarrhea, acute uveitis, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, histoplasmosis, TB, cardiomyopathy causing cardiac failure, dementia, meningitis and several others. AIDS is commonly recognized thus it does not have its own listing in the SSA's blue book. However, someone having AIDS will likely to qualify under the HIV listing.
If you are not so sure if you can qualify through your HIV symptoms or whether or not they meet the social security's criteria, there may be other ways to prove your disability benefits, even if your symptoms are not listed in the Blue Book. We suggest you consult our expert disability attorneys for legal guidance for qualifying for disability for HIV AND AIDS.