Since yesterday February 14 was National Donor Day, now would be a good time to talk about different transplants that qualify for disability. Millions of people worldwide are waiting for a very important gift – the gift of life. Serious diseases and illnesses can cause so much damage to vital organs in the body that the only hope is for a transplant from an organ donor. Each organ donor has the potential to save up to 50 lives after their death, a fact which is not only an amazing testament to the wonders of modern medical science, but a touching example of the symbolism of life coming out of death.
February 14th, known as Valentine’s Day, was named National Donor Day by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2008 to raise awareness of the need for organ donation and to impress people to make this life-saving decision. On this Valentine’s Day, many are becoming aware or remembering that the gift of life is the ultimate gift of love.
On the other end of organ donation is the person who receives. Many times these people have been on waiting lists for years, wasting away from severely disabling and life-threatening conditions. When the organ is received, it is literally the beginning of a new life for many people. An organ transplant is a very traumatic event for the body which is more complex than just a surgery. The body’s immune system is designed to reject foreign objects which invade it, a protection which allows it to fend off germs, diseases, and any threat to your health. However, this response is dangerous when the body rejects a new organ that it desperately needs to function. Organ donors are carefully matched with recipients to decrease the potential for organ rejection. Even after carefully matching blood type and other factors, the body may still reject a new organ, which is why immunosuppressant drugs are also used.
When someone receives an organ transplant, it can be several months or years before recover is complete, as the body adjusts to the new organ and a person’s previously critical condition improves. Meanwhile the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes provision for the inability of organ recipients to perform normal functions and retain employment. The following organ transplants are listed by the SSA in the Blue Book listing of impairments as a condition which automatically qualifies someone for disability for at least one year after the transplant occurs:
- Heart transplant
- Lung transplant
- Kidney transplant
- Liver transplant
- Bone marrow/stem cell transplant
For the year after a person receives these organ transplants, they qualify for SSDI benefits. After a year has passed, their case will be reviewed and their continuing disability status will be determined based on the normal criteria for their condition listed in the Blue Book. Organ transplantation is a vital life event for millions of men, women and children who face the peril of death daily without it.