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Hematological Disorders and Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses Section 7 of the Blue Book to evaluate disability claims related to hematological (blood) disorders. Depending on the specific hematological condition you have, your claim may be evaluated according to specific criteria in Section 7, it may be evaluated according to another Blue Book section relating to the body parts or functions affected by you condition, or both.

The hematological conditions specifically addressed in the Blue Book include:

  • Aplastic Anemian - If you have aplastic anemia from transplantation, you will qualify for disability benefits for one year following the transplant. Afterwards, you will be periodically reassessed to determine whether you could return to work.
  • Chronic Anemia - To qualify for disability with chronic anemia, you need to show that you need a blood transfusion at least once every other month. Alternately, your anemia might help you qualify under another listing in the Blue Book.
  • Chronic Granulocytopenia - To qualify for benefits, your absolute neutrophil needs to be under 1,000 cells per cubic mm over a prolonged period of time and you must have medically documented bacterial infections three or more times in the past five months.
  • Chronic Thrombocytopenia - To qualify, your platelet count needs to be consistently under 40,000 per cubic mm. Additionally, you must have either intracranial bleeding (within one year) or spontaneous bleeding severe enough to require a transfusion (within the past five months).
  • Coagulation Defects and Hemophelia - This includes hemophilia and a number of similar disorders. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits with these conditions, you must have had at least three episodes of spontaneous bleeding which required transfusions within the past five months.
  • Hereditary Telangiectasia- To qualify, you must have required a transfusion three or more times within five months.
  • Myelofibrosis - To qualify, you must also have either chronic anemia (in which case, it is evaluated under the criteria used for that condition) or recurring bacterial infections (at least three in the past five months, each of which must be documented) or bone pain caused by osteosclerosis.
  • Polycythemia Vera - While this condition is listed in the Blue Book under hematological diseases, it is always evaluated using other Sections of the Blue Book. You’ll want to refer to the section of the Blue Book which deals with the body system affected by your polycythemia vera.
  • Sickle Cell Disease - To qualify with sickle cell disease (or any variant), you need to have had three or more crises within five months or three crises requiring hospitalization in the past year. You may also qualify if you are severely anemic (hematocrit under 26%) or if your sickle cell causes you to qualify according to the requirements of a different listing.

Other hematological conditions may qualify you for Social Security disability, even if they aren’t specifically listed. Generally speaking, when dealing with a condition which isn’t listed in the Blue Book, the SSA compares the conditions to conditions which are listed and evaluates whether your disabling conditions meet the same general requirements or if they hinder you from performing any meaningful work.

Other Conditions that qualify under the hematological disorders evaluation: