Hepatitis C

SSDI Attorneys in Chicago

Hepatitis C is a viral infection arising out of exposure to infected blood. There are various groups that may be at higher risk for Hepatitis C, including people who share needles, those engaging in unprotected sex, those with regular contact with blood, and patients on long-term kidney dialysis. In most cases, people who’ve been infected recently will not show symptoms. However, if there’s a chronic infection, there may be internal bleeding, jaundice, abdominal pain and more. If you suffer a more severe case of Hepatitis C, you may develop liver cancer or cirrhosis. If you have become disabled by Hepatitis C, you can consult a seasoned Chicago Social Security lawyer about the possibility of obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a virus that spreads through contaminated blood and causes the liver to become inflamed and damaged. Chronic Hepatitis C can be cured with oral medications taken daily for 2-6 months. More than half of people with Hepatitis C don’t know they’re infected because they’re asymptomatic, but some people do become disabled as a result of Hepatitis C. If you’ve been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and your symptoms are really severe and have lasted at least a year, are expected to last at least a year, or you’re terminally ill, you may be able to get SSDI benefits.

SSDI Benefits

In order to meet the requirements of Listing 5.05 and automatically get disability benefits, you need to be diagnosed with chronic liver disease and have a complication such as end-stage liver disease, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, ascites, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hepatopulmonary syndrome, or hepatic encephalopathy. The listing requirements are complex and you may need to ask your doctor whether your illness meets the criteria of 5.05, but even if you don’t meet those requirements, you may qualify based on an inability to do any work. A dedicated SSDI lawyer can assess whether you may be able to make a successful claim.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will conduct a 5-step process to figure out if your residual functional capacity (RFC) is so low you can’t work. Sometimes difficulty working is due to infection or medication side effects. For example, interferon is commonly prescribed for this condition, and it can result in memory or thinking difficulties, mood swings, serious depression, and suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it’s possible to qualify for disability by showing that the combined effect of illness and medication side effects makes it challenging to do any jobs.

Many valid disability claims are rejected by the SSA, so it’s important to submit substantial medical evidence such as imaging, biopsies, and other records. It is important that your doctor notes in your records the physical restrictions you face either because of Hepatitis C or medication side effects.

When determining your residual functional capacity, factors to be considered by the SSA include how long you can sit, how long you can walk, your ability to push or pull, whether you have vision or hearing difficulties, and whether you have communication challenges. They will also look at your mental residual functional capacity, examining to what extent either Hepatitis C or the medication affects your ability to make decisions, keep focus, make decisions, remember job instructions, or be reliable. When medication makes it challenging to focus on and follow through on simple job tasks, it’s likely you’ll be considered to have reduced mental RFC. When there are substantial mental or emotional impairments as a result of medication side effects or Hepatitis C, it may also be important to get treatment from a psychiatrist whose records may also be used to substantiate your disability claim.

Retain a Seasoned SSDI Lawyer in Chicago

If you become disabled by Hepatitis C in Chicago, you can discuss your situation with a skillful SSDI attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent disabled people in Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, and Aurora, as well as Cook, Sangamon, Winnebago, Kane, and Adams Counties. We can also look closely at the circumstances of your disability to figure out whether relief outside of SSDI is possible. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.