People need organ transplants for many different reasons. For some, a long-term disability will lead them to an organ transplant to help improve their quality of life or to save their life. For others, the organ transplant is, in itself, a qualifying disability. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is a Fayetteville disability lawyer, and he is here to explain whether or not people can qualify for disability benefits after an organ transplant and how having a transplant might affect the disability benefits you already receive.
Does an Organ Transplant Qualify Me for Disability Benefits in Arkansas?
Sometimes, getting an organ transplant leads to a long recovery period where the patient needs to relax and focus on healing. In many cases, this makes it hard to work to support yourself and your family. This is exactly the type of situation that disability benefits are designed to cover, whether the condition that keeps you from working is an illness, a hereditary condition, cancer, an injury, or an organ transplant.
The following transplants are listed as approved disabilities in Arkansas, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) often lists an expected number of years you can get benefits for with each type of transplant:
- Lung transplants – 3 years
- Heart transplant – 1 year
- Liver transplant – 1 year
- Kidney transplant (when accompanied by chronic kidney disease) – 1 year
- Bone marrow transplant (when used as treatment for hematological disorders or cancer) – 1 year
Although they are not organs, you can also get disability for a stem cell transplant in many cases. For kidney, bone marrow, or stem cell transplants, it must usually be accompanied by another condition to qualify.
There is a process for seeking disability with another unlisted disability if it is just as serious as a listed disability, so talk to a lawyer even if your transplant does not appear on this list.
Although there are expected lengths of coverage for these transplants, there will always be a reevaluation at the end of the period. For instance, someone requiring a lung transplant might not regain proper function by the end of the 3-year period, and they could still be disabled. That could mean getting your disability extended beyond the initial period.
Can I Continue Getting Disability After a Transplant in Arkansas?
Many people with disabilities end up needing an organ transplant to treat their disability. Many medical conditions, including cancer and various types of organ failure, qualify people for disability benefits. Many of these disabilities also lead to organ transplants to help make people better. If the organ transplant resolves your medical condition and eliminates your disability, it could affect your disability benefits.
The first thing to realize when looking at eligibility for disability benefits with an organ transplant is that a transplant usually does not flip a switch and stop a disability. Your health will often be compromised in broader ways because of the organ failure or other underlying conditions that led to the organ transplant. If the underlying condition persists and you are still disabled, you can probably still continue receiving disability benefits after the transplant.
As mentioned, many organ transplants are themselves disabilities. Other disabilities are assumed to include organ transplants. In both cases, the fact that you had an organ transplant is expected to allow you to stay on disability for at least some period of time afterward.
In cases where your organ transplant improves your health condition, you might be able to get off disability, and the Social Security Administration might try to cancel or pause your benefits.
Fighting Paused and Terminated Disability Benefits in Arkansas
If the SSA pauses or terminates your disability benefits after you got an organ transplant, our Fayetteville disability termination lawyer might be able to fight your case and help get your benefits reinstated.
After a transplant, the SSA will likely expect you to spend some time in recovery. If the organ transplant you received is not one of the transplants listed above, then the SSA might not acknowledge that your transplant qualifies you for disability. In that case, they might terminate your benefits or pause them until they can receive further information.
Similarly, if the transplant helped you “recover” from your disability, the SSA would likely want to stop your benefits. However, they might be unable to tell whether your condition improved or not after the transplant, and they might pause your benefits or request further information.
Most situations where disability benefits are paused or terminated occur because the SSA cannot tell if you still have a disability. The SSA will often ask for medical checks and paperwork to evaluate your condition and see if you still need benefits. If for any reason you do not respond to their requests, they might pause or terminate your benefits. Even something as simple as a wrong address on your record could cause your benefits to lapse because they cannot send you requests for more information.
Our Fayetteville, AR termination of benefits attorney can help you prove you are still disabled and fight to keep you on disability. If your benefits have been paused, we can help provide the SSA with the information they need to evaluate your case and keep you on disability. If your benefits have been terminated, we can file appeals to get them reinstated or reconsidered.
It is important to work with a Springdale, AR disability attorney before getting a transplant to help lay the proper groundwork for potential issues with the SSA and to be proactive in fighting to keep your benefits.
Call Our Fayetteville Disability Lawyers for Help Getting or Keeping Benefits After an Organ Transplant
If you or a loved one is disabled and needed an organ transplant – or if you or a loved one is disabled because of an organ transplant – call our attorney today about getting benefits and how long you can stay on long-term disability in Arkansas. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is an Arkansas disability benefits lawyer who fights to help disabled Arkansans apply for disability, appeal denials, fight terminations, and keep their benefits after serious medical procedures like organ transplants. For a free case consultation, call us today at (479) 316-0438.