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Kidney Failure and Social Security Disability

Kidney Failure

Kidney Failure is a complex disorder that affects every system in the body. It is also known as Renal Failure and is characterized by an inability of the kidneys to properly filter the blood, which leads to blood with increased levels of chemicals and toxins circulating through the body. Symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Some individuals may barely feel the effects of kidney failure while other are too fatigued and sick to leave their beds. In general, the most common symptoms include upset stomach, swelling in the feet and other extremities, fatigue, and muscle soreness or cramping. In some cases, abnormal heart rhythms and dozens of other symptoms may occur. Causes of this condition can also vary greatly based on the medical history of the individual, but in America the most common causes of kidney failure are hypertension, glomerulonephritis, and diabetes.

Diagnosis is based upon analysis of an individual's GFR, or glomerular filtration rate, which refers to the speed at which the kidneys clean the blood. A high GFR is good, but as kidney disease progresses an individual’s GFR will steadily decrease. GFR can easily be determined by a physician through simple blood test results compared against other information including age, sex, and body size.

Unfortunately, treatment options for kidney failure are somewhat limited. The preferred option is a kidney transplant. While a transplant offers the recipient a chance at a normal life, it also has the considerable life-time risk of rejection of the new kidney, which can potentially result in death.

The other option is dialysis. This is involves using a machine as an artificial kidney to filter the blood. When an individual is on dialysis they will be required to be hooked up to this machine for hours at a time as many as seven days per week. This will obviously greatly impact the ability of these people to maintain any sort of employment.

Filing for SSDI or SSI with Kidney Failure

If you have been diagnosed by a kidney specialist as having permanent kidney failure that requires a kidney transplant or dialysis, the Social Security Administration has a special listing that can make receiving disability benefits a relatively straightforward process. Section 6 of the disability impairment listing guide known as the “Blue Book” addresses all kidney function disorders and is used by state Disability Determination Services (DDS) to evaluate disability claims based on kidney failure. Many people that suffer from kidney failure will fit into several categories within this section. The keys to receiving Social Security Disability benefits for kidney failure are patience and complete medical records. The DDS will require a detailed history of your disorder including information on the treatment you are receiving and how your body is responding to those treatments. Additionally, the Social Security Administration gives greater weight to a diagnosis and treatment plan from a medical specialist rather than a primary care physician.

Your Kidney Failure Disability Case

When you have been diagnosed with kidney failure, all of your time and energy should be spent on treatments and trying to feel your best. For most people it will become impossible to work full-time while combating this debilitating disorder. Social Security Disability is designed to help these people financially survive during the course of their sickness and treatment. Unfortunately, applying for disability benefits may require substantially more time and energy than a person may have while undergoing daily treatments for kidney failure. In such cases, contacting a qualified disability lawyer or advocate may provide you with invaluable assistance with every step of the Social Security Disability application process.