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HIV/AIDS and disability determination for SSD benefits

There is no denying that HIV/AIDS are serious illnesses. Anyone diagnosed with HIV/AIDS should know that the Social Security Administration acknowledges the seriousness of these illnesses and offers Social Security Disability benefits to those who are eligible.

In order to determine eligibility for SSD benefits, the SSA works with a Disability Determination Services agency. After receiving a claim application, the SSA forwards it to DDS. A disability evaluation specialist and a doctor study the application and determine whether the applicant is eligible to receive SSD benefits for HIV/AIDS. Their determination is based on the list of HIV-related impairments that the SSA publishes.

Some examples of the impairments that the SSA considers as qualifying conditions for SSD benefits are bacterial, fungal and protozoan infections, malignant neoplasms, diarrhea, cardiomyopathy, nephropathy, hematologic and neurological abnormalities, HIV wasting syndrome, as well as certain conditions of the skin and mucus membrane and certain mental illnesses that are associated with HIV/AIDS.

When the SSA receives an application from a person suffering from HIV/AIDS, it prioritizes the application and usually completes the claim process within three to four months. Applicants should remember that during those three or four months it is important to work closely with the SSA and DDS so that the disability evaluators and doctors are fully aware of the applicant's disabling conditions.

Understandably, so much effort, especially when already suffering from the illness, can be overwhelming for many HIV/AIDS patients and their family members. Therefore, in order to make the claim process less cumbersome, it may be beneficial to get more information about the application process.

Source: NASW.org, "Social Security Benefits for People Living with HIV/AIDS," Accessed on July 11, 2015

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
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