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Hepatorenal Syndrome and Social Security Disability

Hepatorenal Syndrome and the Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances Program

The standard Social Security Disability application process can take more than three years to complete. With the extensive backlog of claims in the Social Security system, there was a public outcry of individuals who desperately needed to have their claims quickly approved due to the severity of their conditions. The SSA took note of this in 2008 and introduced the Compassionate Allowances initiative. This program allows individuals who suffer from severely debilitating conditions to have their claims approved in as little as 10 days. Among the 200 conditions that qualify for Compassionate Allowance processing is Hepatorenal Syndrome.

Hepatorenal Syndrome Condition and Symptoms

Hepatorenal Syndrome is diagnosed when individuals with existing chronic liver disease develop renal failure. It is estimated that 40 percent of patients who suffer from cirrhosis and ascites will develop Hepatorenal Syndrome during the natural course of liver disease. This decrease in kidney function results in less urine production. Less urine production results in a build-up of nitrogen-containing waste products in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Hepatorenal Syndrome include:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Delirium
  • Confusion
  • Dementia
  • Jerky muscle movements
  • Dark urine
  • A decrease in urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • A yellowing of the skin

The prognosis for those who develop Hepatorneal Syndrome is very poor. Those with Hepatorenal Syndrome typically die as a result of a secondary infection or internal bleeding. The only cure for this condition is liver transplantation. All other treatments are solely supportive in nature. Dialysis and shunts can relieve some of the discomfort associated with Hepatorenal Syndrome.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Hepatorenal Syndrome

To qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program, you must be able to provide them with sufficient medical evidence along with your application. There is specific medical records and documentation that the SSA will look for when they review your claim. For claims involving Hepatorenal Syndrome, that evidence may include:

  • A clinical history and physical examination describing the diagnostic features of the impairment
  • Laboratory studies documenting serum creatinine elevation of at least 2 mg/dL; or oliguria with 24-hour urine output < 500 mL; or sodium retention with urine sodium < 10 mEq per liter
  • Laboratory testing showing BUN levels
  • Urinalysis showing increased urine specific gravity
  • Liver tests showing increased prothrombin time and low serum albumin
  • Abdominal ultrasound

In order to avoid any delays in the processing of your Social Security Disability claim, you should include as much of the above-mentioned evidence with your application as possible. It is also crucial that you fill out the disability claim forms properly. Without this information, the SSA may not be able to process your claim according to the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Hepatorenal Syndrome and Your Social Security Disability Case

While many individuals wait until their claim has been denied before seeking the services of a Social Security attorney, you should consider retaining legal representation prior to submitting your initial application. By working with an attorney or advocate, you will ensure that your claim has sufficient supportive medical evidence and that it will be processed through the Compassionate Allowances program. An attorney will do his or her best to make sure that you receive Social Security Disability benefits as quickly as possible and will help you to avoid the lengthy disability appeal process.

If you would like to learn more about applying for disability benefits with Hepatorenal Syndrome, click here and receive a free consultation with a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate.