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Can I get disability benefits if I am suffering from the effects of Kidney Disease?

Appealing for benefits is best done under the guidance of an experienced disability lawyer.

Can I get Social Security disability benefits if I am suffering from the effects of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis

The National Kidney Foundation estimates that 37 million American adults are living with chronic kidney disease. Also known as CKD, chronic kidney disease is a condition characterized by the gradual deterioration of kidney function, decreasing their ability to filter waste and excess fluid from out of the body. CKD can also affect red blood cell production and vitamin D metabolism needed for bone health.

Kidney disease disability

The SSA recognizes Chronic Kidney Disease in its Blue Book under Section 6.0. To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits a person must meet the requirements of the listing or prove that they are unable to work.

The kidneys are located on either side of the spine just above the waist and have several important functions in the body:

  •   Balancing water and minerals like sodium and potassium in the blood
  •    Removing waste products from the blood after digestion, muscle activity and exposure to chemicals
  •   Producing renin, an enzyme that helps control blood pressure
  •   Making erythropoietin, a hormone that aids in the production of red blood cells
  •   Producing an active form of vitamin D

In contrast with acute kidney failure where the kidneys suddenly stop functioning (usually due to traumatic injury), in chronic kidney disease the kidneys do not function well for at least three months and symptoms develop over time as the disease progresses.

Waste products and fluid buildup result in a variety of symptoms.

  •   Nausea and/or vomiting
  •    Swelling in feet and ankles
  •   Fatigue and weakness
  •   Loss of appetite
  •   Muscle cramps
  •   Changes in how much you urinate
  •   High blood pressure that is difficult to control
  •   Dry skin and itching
  •   Chest pain if fluid builds up around the heart
  •   Shortness of breath if fluid builds up in the lungs
  •   Decreased mental sharpness

Diabetes types 1 and 2 and high blood pressure can progress to chronic kidney disease, but other underlying medical conditions may also be responsible:

  •   Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition where fluid-filled sacs form in the kidneys
  •   Urinary tract infections within the kidneys that lead to scarring
  •    Immune system diseases, such as lupus
  •   Long-lasting viruses such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  •   Inflammation in the tiny filters within the kidneys
  •   Drugs and exposure to certain chemicals including lead poisoning and long-term use of ibuprofen

Diagnosis of chronic kidney disease includes a physical exam, laboratory tests, imaging tests, and sometimes a biopsy of kidney tissue.

Some types of kidney disease are treatable, but most cases are not. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and relies on medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, treat anemia, relieve swelling, and protect bones. A lower protein diet is often recommended to minimize waste products in the blood. When the kidneys are no longer able to clear waste and fluid from the body, dialysis is employed and in cases of chronic kidney failure a kidney transplant may be recommended.

Contact a Social Security disability attorney at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and see if you can get disability benefits while suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease. If you have been denied disability don’t give up!

Social Security Disability evaluates chronic kidney disease under Section 6.0 of its Blue Book, Genitourinary.

Applicants are approved for benefits when any of the following conditions are met:

  •    Completion of a kidney transplant
  •   Need for regular dialysis
  •   Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is low. (GFR indicates the stage of kidney disease)
  •   Nephrotic syndrome, a condition resulting in too much protein in the urine
  •   Serious complications of CKD including anemia, metabolic acidosis, bone disease, heart failure, anemia, fluid buildup and hyperkalemia (high potassium level in blood)

Social Security will automatically grant 12 months of disability benefits to an applicant who has had a kidney transplant.

After that period, Social Security will evaluate the claimant’s ongoing eligibility taking into consideration transplant rejection, frequency of infection, and side effects of treatments.
In addition to your complete medical history, Social Security will require the following medical evidence to approve disability benefits:

  •   Treatment notes from all medical providers
  •    Laboratory reports documenting renal disease and kidney function deterioration
  •   Dialysis reports that show renal function before and after treatments and the need for ongoing dialysis
  •   Kidney biopsy results.

If you have kidney disease but do not meet the specific requirements of the impairment as listed by Social Security, you may still qualify for disability benefits if you have experienced complications from your medical condition over the past year.

For example, some individuals with CKD suffer from shortness of breath, bone pain, swelling in the knees or feet, and fatigue from anemia. Social Security will consider the effects of the disease on your ability to work, including side effects of medications and treatments in determining whether to approve benefits.

Chronic kidney disease is a serious medical condition that impacts an individual’s daily life.

If you have chronic kidney disease and are unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

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Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.

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Attorney Lloyd BemisAuthor: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.

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