Social Security Disability Benefits and HIV/AIDS

Social Security provides benefits for HIV victims who have symptoms of AIDS. However, having HIV does not, in itself, constitute a disability. The matter can be somewhat complex, so often it is a good idea to seek the counsel of an experienced Atlanta social security disability lawyer / attorney.

A person who has been diagnosed with AIDS will likely be approved for Social Security disability benefits. This is because the basic acid test used by the Social Security Administration to determine eligibility is a person’s inability to work. In most instances, a person with AIDS has diminished to the extent that work is difficult or impossible to continue.

A person with HIV, on the other hand, can remain symptom-free for many years. While the individual might seek costly treatment to prevent the onset of AIDS-related diseases, the catch-22 is that he or she will not be able to receive disability benefits until symptoms appear and cause significant impairment to the person’s ability to work.

There are instances, however, when a person has not been diagnosed with AIDS but can no longer perform work duties. In such cases, disability benefits may be granted. This is because Social Security determines a person’s eligibility for benefits based on his condition, not whether AIDS was diagnosed. A person may have a reduced ability to work, and therefore be eligible.

Social Security has produced a “blue book,” which is a list of impairments that are used as criteria for determining disability benefits. To be eligible, a person must have a documented positive HIV test, as well as have symptoms of an opportunistic disease associated with AIDS such as Kaposi’s sarcoma (a cancer), tuberculosis, or other illnesses listed in the book. If the person’s diagnosed condition does not match a disease in the blue book, but leaves the individual diminished with certain incapacities, he or she may be granted disability.

If you have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS and believe your condition should make you eligible for Social Security disability benefits, it may be useful to seek legal assistance, especially if you have been denied at the initial level. Contact dedicated and knowledgeable Atlanta social security disability lawyer / attorney Sherri Allen for a free initial consultation.