Are you someone who has been diagnosed with kidney disease? Wondering if you can get disability for kidney disease? The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work on a monthly basis. Although kidney disease does not automatically qualify for benefits, thousands of individuals who have been out of work for a year or longer due to kidney disease may qualify.
Social Security Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides two kinds of payments to disabled individuals: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is a work-based program, while SSI is need-based.
You must be determined disabled through the SSA’s Five-Step Sequential Evaluation to be eligible for any benefit. The first step is to apply for disability benefits either online or with a local Social Security Administration office. You may seek the advice of a disability attorney to file your initial application for disability for kidney disease.
Kidney Failure: Acute vs. Chronic
Kidney failure may be acute or chronic (prolonged). Acute kidney failure may be caused by a decrease in blood flow to the kidneys, medication/infection/toxin damage, or a blockage. You may experience difficulty urinating and have swelling in your extremities if you have acute renal failure. Although most patients recover from acute kidney failure, persistent kidney damage may occur, resulting in chronic renal disease.
Chronic kidney disease lowers kidney function over time and, depending on severity, may need dialysis or a kidney transplant. As waste builds in the body, severe chronic kidney disease produces electrolyte imbalance and edema (swelling).
Disability For Kidney Disease
The SSA Blue Book defines the conditions that are qualified for disability payments and the test results or symptoms that must be present for the condition to be recognized as a disability. To qualify for disability compensation, you must generally meet or exceed at least one of the requirements.
Kidney disease is covered in Section 6.00 of the Blue Book under Genitourinary Disorders. For the SSA to consider your kidney condition a disability, at least one of the following must be true:
- You suffer from chronic Kidney (renal) disease and need dialysis.
- You have chronic kidney disease and had a kidney transplant within the last year.
- You have chronic kidney disease with decreased kidney function and at least one of the following symptoms:
- Renal osteodystrophy: a bone disease caused by failing kidneys, characterized by significant bone pain and anomalies.
- Peripheral neuropathy: a nerve disease that causes pain, numbness, tingling, and muscular weakness throughout the body as a result of toxins that the kidneys were unable to filter out.
- Fluid overload syndrome: a disorder in which water and salt are retained in the body, resulting in unusually large blood vessels, high blood pressure, skin inflammation, or a BMI of 18.0 or less due to weight loss.
- Anorexia with weight loss measured by a body mass index (BMI) of 18.0 or below, calculated at least twice in a 12-month period at least 90 days apart.
- You have nephrotic syndrome (where protein is lost in the urine), as shown by testing twice a year, at least 90 days apart, and skin inflammation for at least 90 days.
- You have chronic kidney disease and have been hospitalized at least three times in the last year as a consequence of complications. They must occur at least 30 days apart and last at least 48 hours, including time spent in a hospital emergency room prior to hospitalization.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will administer a Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) assessment, which is a questionnaire that assesses your capacity to stand, sit, walk, lifting weight, and complete other daily tasks. Even if you do not fit into any of these categories, you may be eligible for disability for kidney disease if treatments prevent you from working. If your kidney disease prevents you from performing a job, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Hire an Experienced Disability Attorney
While qualifying for disability for kidney disease is frequently straightforward, not all applicants have a fast or easy case assessment. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor to record your condition and ensure that the SSA has all the necessary information and medical documents to assess your claim. You may also want to seek the assistance of an experienced Social Security advocate or attorney, particularly if your kidney condition prohibits you from working but does not fall under one of the Blue Book categories described above.