Hepatitis C is a virus that causes liver inflammation that can lead to serious liver damage. Hep C is contracted by exposure to infected blood. Therefore, those most at risk for becoming infected include those on long-term kidney dialysis, people who share needles with someone infected, those who come into contact with blood in the workplace, and those who engage in unprotected sex. It can take years for symptoms to appear, but underlying chronic infection, even without initial symptoms, leads to abdominal bleeding, fatigue, itching, swelling, confusion, slurred speech, jaundice and nausea. Severe cases can cause cirrhosis of the live or liver cancer.
How Is Hepatitis C Treated?
Hep C is treated with antiviral medication and if treated early can have positive outcomes. However, if a patient develops serious complications from chronic Hep C such as liver disease or liver cancer, a transplant may be necessary. Even with a liver transplant, patients with chronic Hep C may require ongoing medication after the transplant to protect the new liver from the virus.
Can You Get Social Security Benefits if You Have Hepatitis C?
Most of the time, it is only those patients with serious complications of Hep C that qualify for Social Security Disability. To qualify for benefits, the applicant must meet the criteria established by Social Security Listing 5.05 for Chronic Liver Disease. In addition, the impairment must have lasted a year or be expected to last a year.
As with any disability application, the most imperative evidence is in medical records and with consistent medical treatment. Documentation of side effects from Hep C medication is also important as the medications are known to cause debilitating side effects.
If the applicant is not able to qualify under Listing 5.05, they may try to qualify based on residual functional capacity (RFC). To do this, the applicant must provide evidence that shows that due to the combined effects of their illness and side effects it is impossible for them to perform any work.
The CDC reports that Hep C diagnosis has been on the rise in recent years and the highest rates of diagnosis occurred in persons age 20-39 years, consistent with age groups most impacted by the opioid crisis.
Our Social Security Attorneys Can Help with Your Claim for Benefits
If you or a loved one suffer from acute Hep C diagnosis, have severe complications from Hep C diagnosis, or debilitating side effects from Hep C treatment, you may qualify for disability benefits. We encourage you to reach out to our Social Security attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation. One of our experienced professionals is available to help.