Does Sickle Cell Anemia Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Sickle cell anemia is a medical disorder that causes red blood cells to be sickle in shape, rather than the traditional round shape of a healthy blood cell. The crescent shaped cells get trapped in blood vessels, which causes them to slow down or block blood flow to other parts of the body. These cells also cause a decrease in the production of red blood cells.
People who suffer from sickle cell anemia may experience a variety of symptoms, including frequent urination, poor vision, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, pain and excessive thirst. More serious complications include kidney failure, bone infections and stroke.
Because sickle cell anemia can severely impact a claimant’s ability to work in a number of industries and under certain situations, claimants who have this condition may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, there are a number of qualifications that must first be met. Our Social Security Disability attorneys in Phoenix can help claimants prepare their claim and navigate this complex process.
Qualifying for Disability under the Blue Book for Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is included in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book of impairment listings. This means that a claimant may qualify for benefits if he or she meets the requirements of the listing.
This condition is included in section 7.05 for disorders of Hemolytic anemias. This listing requires that you be diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, requiring one of the following:
- A laboratory report of a definitive test that diagnoses a hematological disorder that a physician has signed
- A laboratory report of a definitive test establishing a hematological disorder that a physician has not signed in addition to a report from a physician diagnosing the condition
- A persuasive report from the claimant’s physician that states that the hematological disorder was confirmed by appropriate laboratory analysis or other diagnostic methods
Additionally, you must have one or more of the following:
- Documentation of painful vaso-occlusive crises that required injected or IV narcotics at least six times in the last 12 months with a minimum of 30 days between each episode
- Hospitalization for at least 48 hours a minimum of three times in the past year with each hospitalization occurring at least 30 days from each other, which can include time in the emergency room or a comprehensive sickle cell disease center
- Hemoglobin measurements of 7.0 g/dL or less that occurred at least three times within a 12-month period with a minimum of 30 days between each measurement
- Beta thalassemia major that requires lifelong transfusions at least once per six weeks
Qualifying for Disability if You Do Not Meet the Blue Book Requirements
Even if a person does not meet the stringent requirements in the Blue Book, he or she may still qualify for disability benefits. A person can qualify for benefits if he or she can prove that sickle cell anemia prevents him or her from being able to work.
This is usually completed by having a residual functioning capacity assessment completed by a doctor. This assessment clearly states what the claimant is physically and mentally able to perform.
The doctor provides details about how long a claimant can sit, lie down or stand without having to adjust. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a claimant’s age, education, work history and transferable skills.
If the SSA determines that the claimant cannot return to his or her most recent job, previous jobs or any other type of employment, the claimant can qualify for benefits. However, establishing this premise requires substantial documentation on the claimant’s medical conditions and the limitations it imposes.
Seek Assistance to Obtain the Benefits You Need
The Social Security Disability process is complicated, requiring the assistance of seasoned legal counsel.
Our disability attorneys can help you complete your initial application and gather the necessary documentation to support your claim. We are dedicated to helping you acquire the benefits you need and will guide you through this difficult process.
Call 1-800-503-2000 today for a free consultation.