Discovering you have HIV/AIDS can be devastating, as this impacts the relationships you have with family, friends and work. One of the hardest things to cope with is the thought of lost income. If your diagnosis affects how much work you can accomplish then knowing if you qualify with Social Security to get disability for HIV/AIDS is imperative. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does explicitly recognize HIV/AIDS as a disability it doesn’t automatically mean the Social Security Administration (SSA) will.
Determining Disability with SSA
To start the process of getting Social Security for AIDS patients the first step is to know what kind of payments the SSA offers:
- Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) covers those that have paid into Social Security
- Social Security Income (SSI) pays those that have few resources, and low income, which may not have paid into Social Security
Speaking with a local Social Security field office can provide the necessary application forms and clarify which type of assistance, which may be both, a patient may receive. The completed application is then distributed to a Disability Determination Service (DDS). The DDS will take the information provided by Social Security for an AIDS patient and begin researching to see if the candidate meets the disability requirements.
The criteria that must be fulfilled to get Social Security for HIV/AIDS is that the patient is proven to be unable to perform "substantial gainful work activity." Along with that, there is the requirement that the inability to work must last for at least 12 months. When the DDS is making their evaluation that is what must be proven by reviewing patient medical records and other examinations they may require.
To ensure the decision is fair and complete, medical history information should be thorough in its documentation of the disease. Including lab work, tests, diagnosis and prognosis information from a doctor is critical and any diagnosis for HIV/AIDS without positive test results must be explained thoroughly.
After evidence is provided of diagnosis, having a medical report that lists what the patient can and can’t do, so far as work is concerned, will assist in ascertaining if substantial work activity can still be completed.
In some instances financial support can be given to needy individuals before the determination is made. Assistance is here for you if you’re facing this challenge, and if you need legal advice to clear any roadblocks, we’re just a phone call away.