“Liver disease” can include many different illnesses and conditions. From hepatitis to fatty liver to cirrhosis, there are many different conditions you could have that can vary in duration and severity. For people with chronic liver conditions, disability benefits are often available, but you need to qualify for benefits and apply with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to get the benefits you need. Fayetteville, AR disability attorney Ken Kieklak explains how to apply for disability benefits for liver disease in Arkansas and how a lawyer can help.
Can You Apply for SSDI with Liver Disease in Arkansas?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is one of two programs that provide disabled Arkansans with benefits. This is a federal program overseen by the SSA that covers disability benefits for people who have a record of working in the U.S. and paying Social Security taxes. If you do not have a work record, you could potentially get SSDI on your parent’s record or through a spouse’s record instead. If you cannot apply for SSDI, then Supplemental Security Income (SSI) might be available instead. This is a “need-based” program and might be used in conjunction with SSDI in some cases.
To qualify for SSDI, you need to have a condition that the SSA recognizes as a “disability.” The SSA lists various impairments that they consider severe enough to qualify for disability benefits. Each listing has its own medical definition that is often far more strict or far more serious than what a doctor would use to diagnose the condition.
For instance, with liver disease, a doctor might run blood tests or examine scans of your liver to determine that you have a condition. With many conditions that qualify for disability in Arkansas, such as certain forms of hepatitis, the condition might be temporary, so your doctor will treat it and you will recover within weeks or months. The SSA usually does not include these types of liver disease in its definition because the SSA deals primarily with “chronic” liver disease – i.e. liver disease that affects you for a long time. Other liver diseases, such as fatty liver disease, might qualify as a disease, but the patient might have few or no symptoms that interfere with the patient’s day-to-day life. These liver conditions similarly might not qualify because they are not severe and do not interfere with a person’s ability to work.
If you qualify for SSDI, if your condition meets the SSA’s definition, and the condition is severe enough to affect your ability to work, then you should be able to apply for disability benefits in Arkansas.
SSA’s Definition of “Chronic Liver Disease” for Disability Benefits in Arkansas
The disability listing for chronic liver disease is a bit complicated. First, the SSA does not actually distinguish the condition based on what liver disease you have. Many diseases, such as chronic hepatitis, hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, and even alcoholic or drug-induced liver disease could all qualify. However, these conditions must be severe to qualify, and they must meet certain standards. Liver cancer can also qualify for disability coverage.
Typically, “severe” chronic liver disease, under the SSA’s definition, lasts for at least 6 months. It must also include cell death, inflammation, or fibrosis/cirrhosis. To qualify, you must also have various issues involving hemorrhaging, fluid accumulation, oxygenation issues, kidney failure, a decline in brain function, or other serious symptoms.
A doctor and an Arkansas disability lawyer can help you determine whether your condition meets these standards. You will probably need testing to confirm that most of your symptoms and conditions meet the SSA’s standards, so consider contacting a doctor immediately. Working with a lawyer, you can make sure that you have the proper documentation and medical forms to make applying for disability easier.
The Process of Applying for Disability in Arkansas with Chronic Liver Disease
When you apply for disability benefits, there is a lot of paperwork to fill out. You will need to answer biographical questions, questions about your condition, questions about what abilities are affected by your disability, questions about what tasks you can perform at home and at work, and more. In many cases, disability applications are denied because the information provided on the forms and applications is incomplete, and the SSA is unable to confirm your disability.
Working with a lawyer, you can make sure that everything you need is included in your application. Your lawyer can also help ensure that things are worded properly to show that your condition does meet the standards and that other facets of your disability are also properly seen as severe enough to warrant getting disability benefits.
For many disability applicants, there is a waiting period, and the SSA will then get back to you about what further information they need. In many cases, they will ask for a medical examination, and you will need to see a doctor to confirm your symptoms and the severity of your condition.
Since many applications are rejected as incomplete or denied because they do not have all of the information the SSA needs, you might need to have an attorney file for reconsideration or file to appeal denied disability benefits in Arkansas. Talk to our Fayetteville disability lawyer for help appealing your application and getting the disability benefits you need for your chronic liver disease.
Call Our Fayetteville Disability Lawyer for a Free Case Consultation About Benefits in Arkansas
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is an Arkansas disability lawyer who has spent decades helping disabled Arkansans apply for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration’s standards can be very high, and the application process for disability can be a confusing, complex, difficult system. Talk to a lawyer about what disability benefits are available in Arkansas and for help with your application and for more information about how to apply for disability benefits with liver disease in Arkansas. Call us today at (479) 316-0438 to set up your free legal consultation.