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AIDS DISABILITY BENEFITS

AIDS disability benefits are available if your condition is preventing your from working. Many individuals with HIV infection have severe symptoms that prevent them from working. If you have severe AIDS symptoms and you will be off work for over 12 months, then the SSA may find you eligible for disability benefits.

On the other hand, individuals with HIV infection who are asymptomatic or who have less severe HIV manifestations, will not usually be found to have a disability.

The SSA evaluates each case on an individual basis. In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, the SSA will look to the signs, symptoms, laboratory findings, and other information in your individual AIDS case record to award benefits.

Aids Infographics. AIDS disability. Vector illustration. Awareness HIV AIDS.

As you can see in the above chart, HIV/AIDS is a disease that effects more than 36 million people worldwide. AIDS can be contracted by anyone and is usually contracted by unprotected sex. Fortunately, AIDS is no longer an automatic death sentence.

Due to advances in medicine, becoming HIV+ can be managed with medications, much like Diabetes. Unfortunately, even though there is more knowledge about AIDS, over 1 million people contracted the disease in 2020. Likewise, over 35 million people have died from AIDS-related illness since the epidemic began.

WHAT IS SSA’S DEFINITION OF DISABILITY?

The Social Security Administration has a very strict definition of disability. While some insurance programs give money to people on a short-term basis, Social Security does not.

You are only considered disabled by Social Security if you are unable to do any substantial gainful work activity because of a medical condition, that has lasted or can be expected to last, for at least 12 months. Learn more about SSA’s definition of work here. Additionally, you can also be found disabled if your medical condition is expected to result in death.

There are two types of disability benefits your can receive:  Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI).  You can receive one or both benefits.

To find out more about the differences between SSDI and SSI, read here. Go here to learn how to apply for disability benefits.  Likewise, if you need help obtaining the application or appeal forms, then read here. With both types of benefits, past due benefits tie to the date of your application. That is why it is important to file your disability application as soon as you know you are not returning to work. To learn more about past due disability benefits read here.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU QUALIFY FOR SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are for people who have worked and paid taxes. You may qualify for SSDI if:

  • You’ve worked and paid Social Security taxes.
  • You’ve worked at least 5 of the 10 years before you became disabled. This could be fewer years the younger you are.
  • You can’t do any job, not just the one you had.
  • You’ve been disabled and off work for at least 5 months.
  • You expect your situation to last for 12 months or longer or to result in death.

How much you get paid on a monthly benefit depends on your past earnings and how long you’ve been covered under Social Security. Go here for more information about earnings and the amount of your disability benefit. After 24 months of receiving SSDI, you’ll also qualify for Medicare benefits.

If you have not worked or did not pay taxes, or both, then you may be eligible for apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In order to win these benefits, you must be disabled and meet SSA’s income and asset requirements.

If you need to find out more about SSI benefits, read here. SSI benefits come with Medicaid. Medicaid covers a variety of healthcare services and medications. Go here to learn more information about Medicaid benefits.

MEDICAL EVIDENCE YOU NEED TO WIN AIDS DISABILITY BENEFITS

Medical reports you provide to the SSA should include a thorough description of your medical history.  This includes information on your HIV diagnosis, onset, duration, and prognosis. It is important to describe the full clinical course of your illness, as that will help the SSA determine when the HIV infection and other associated conditions became disabling.

Establishing the correct disability onset date is important because it may affect when cash benefits and Medicare coverage begin. Find out more information about Medicare benefits here.

Your medical records should also describe the standard positive and negative findings of a thorough physical examination. Progress notes that document your doctor’s findings are also helpful. Your reports should include all clinical findings and laboratory findings, including any results of HIV testing.

A diagnosis of HIV infection that is not supported by laboratory test results should be explained. Find out how to support your AIDS disability case with free medical records here. If you have other conditions, like mental impairments such as Depression, you need to include those records too.

AIDS DISABILITY UNDER LISTING 14.07

The following Listing 14.07 for disability under AIDS. In order to be eligible for disability benefits, you must meet the 14.07 criteria.

14.07 Immune deficiency disorders, excluding HIV infection. As described in 14.00E. With:

A. One or more of the following infections. The infection(s) must either be resistant to treatment or require hospitalization or intravenous treatment three or more times in a 12-month period.

1. Sepsis; or

2. Meningitis; or

3. Pneumonia; or

4. Septic arthritis; or

5. Endocarditis; or

6. Sinusitis documented by appropriate medically acceptable imaging.

OR

B. Stem cell transplantation as described under 14.00E3. Consider under a disability until at least 12 months from the date of transplantation. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

OR

C. Repeated manifestations of an immune deficiency disorder, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social function.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

INFORMATION THAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS TO SUPPORT AIDS DISABILITY BENEFITS

There is specific information that the SSA is looking for in your medical records. Examples of laboratory findings may include:

  • CD4 counts;
  • Abnormal blood counts (e.g., hematocrit);
  • Radiographic or other imaging abnormalities; and
  • Pertinent microbiology or pathology reports. Please report any signs you have observed, such as:
    • Muscle weakness or progressive motor dysfunction;
    • Documented persistent fever;
    • Documented weight loss;
    • Dyspnea;
    • Neurological complications related to HIV infection (for example, HIV encephalopathy or peripheral neuropathy); or
    • Mental abnormalities causing impairments, such as difficulty concentrating.

Also, include in your medical records and reports to the SSA any symptoms or other effects of HIV infection. Examples include an individual’s statements about:

    • Persistent low energy, fatigue, weakness, or pain;
    • Fever, or night sweats;
    • Shortness of breath;
    • Persistent cough;
    • Persistent diarrhea;
    • Depression;
    • Anxiety;
    • Cognitive impairments, such as loss of concentration, or slowness of thought;
    • Headaches;
    • Nausea; and
    • Vomiting.

If you need more information about how to collect your medical records, read here.

HOW WILL YOU PAY THE ATTORNEY FEE?

In your AIDS disability case, we will use our legal skills to help you through the disability process. It is our goal to win your case. But, it also our goal to make applying for disability benefits easier for you.

We offer a free consultation. If you call, then there is no obligation to become a client. You can simply ask questions. We will answer. Even if we don’t accept representation in your case, we will still try to help you.

It also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win, you pay us out of your back benefits. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee.

How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. Also, there is a fee cap set at $6000 by the SSA. The fee cap for attorney fees is going up to $7200 in November of 2022. However, you never pay more than the fee cap at the hearing stage of your case. And, 25% of your back benefit is usually less than the $6000 cap or $7200 attorney fee cap. You will pay whatever is the lesser amount and only if we win the case. Find out more here about what it will cost.

CONTACT CANNON DISABILITY FOR YOUR FREE CONSULTATION

If there are costs in your AIDS disability case, then you pay for those costs. However, the costs are usually less than $100. Typically, if a doctor charges for copies of your medical records, then that is your bill to pay. We also have a small office fee that covers expenses we incur for your case. However, that fee is also less than $100.

There are costs in every case. You will owe the costs in your case whether we win or lose your case. However, your attorney fees come from your back benefit. You only pay an attorney fee if we win your case. You owe no attorney fee if we do not win benefits for you.

Hiring an attorney with experience to represent you in your disability case is the smartest thing you can do to help yourself. Contact us today and take advantage of our free consultation. We want to be your disability legal team and help you obtain your AIDS disability benefits.

CANNON DISABILITY CAN HELP YOU APPLY FOR BENEFITS & APPEAL

If you cannot work due to AIDS disability, then Cannon Disability Law can help you apply for SSD and SSI benefits. Also, we can help you appeal an SSA denial. Additionally, we will represent you in court at your disability hearing. We will help you be a witness in your case.

If necessary, we can appeal your case to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is an appeal board that reviews cases throughout the entire country. Find out more here about the Appeals Council.

Likewise, we file appeals in Federal Court. Also, we can represent you no matter where where you live. If you would like to see an example of cities we serve go here. For example, we can represent you if need a disability attorney in Utah or Nevada. Additionally, we can help you if you live in Idaho, Colorado, or California.

Your ability to receive Medicaid and Medicare depends upon winning your disability claim. You are going to need health insurance to care for your AIDS disability symptoms. Medicare benefits come with SSD benefits. Likewise, Medicaid benefits come with SSI benefits. If you have AIDS, your medications are expensive. Therefore, you need to know about your Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

In order to fight the SSA’s denials, you need a legal representative with experience. See reasons to hire an attorney here. Hire us. Dianna Cannon has been representing people with disabilities for over thirty years. Likewise, Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers also have many years of litigation experience.

Together, we have won over 20,000 disability hearings. You can trust us. We will do everything we can to win your SSD and SSI benefits. Find out more about our legal experience and how we can help you with your AIDS disability case on our About Us page.

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