Organ Transplants and Social Security Disability

Organ transplant surgery is only necessary when an organ fails as a result of an injury, illness, or a defect. A failing organ requires constant monitoring and this means working and earning a living is virtually impossible while you’re waiting for organ transplantation.

Maintaining employment after surgery is often just as impossible. You’ll require constant monitoring immediately following surgery and the recovery process will be long and difficult. Anti-rejection medications are necessary and even then, you may suffer side effects from the medications themselves and other difficulties as your body adjusts to and begins to work with the new organ.

If you require an organ transplant or are now recovering from such a procedure, then you automatically qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. You must still however:

  • submit an application,
  • fully document your medical condition,
  • AND
  • meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) technical/financial eligibility rules.

Medically Qualifying Before and After Organ Transplant Surgery

In reviewing your application for benefits, the SSA will compare your medical records to the listings in the Blue Book, which is a manual of impairments and the documentation necessary for proving disability with each.

  • Meet a Listing: If the condition causing organ failure is listed in the Blue Book, then it is under that listing that your application will be evaluated.
  • Match a Listing: If however your medical condition is not listed, the SSA will compare your impairment with a similar one that is listed. Your placement on the transplant waiting list is often proof enough to match any organ failure listing in the Blue Book.
  • Qualifying after Surgery: If you have already undergone an organ transplant surgery, then you’re eligible to receive benefits for at least 12 months after surgery, and you can qualify by meeting or matching any Blue Book listing for organ transplant surgery.
  • Continuing Eligibility Reviews: Twelve months after an organ transplant, the SSA will review your condition again to see if you still qualify, and if your activities of daily living are still severely limited and prevent you from working, then you’ll continue receiving monthly SSD payments.

The minimum medical evidence necessary to qualify before transplant surgery is proof of organ failure and evidence that you’ve been added to the organ transplant waiting list.

Organ Transplants and Social Security Disability

Getting Help with Your Claim

While it is virtually guaranteed that your application for SSD benefits will be approved, you may still decide to get help with your claim from a Social Security advocate or attorney. Doing so will ensure your application is thorough and your medical documentation is as complete as it can possibly be.

If, on the off chance, your organ transplant disability application is denied, an advocate or attorney can help you request a second review or file an appeal, if necessary.

When you’re ready to initiate your claim for benefits, it is important to understand there are two disability programs for which you may qualify:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is intended to pay benefits to eligible disabled workers,
  • AND
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is designed to pay benefits to applicants with limited financial resources, regardless of age or work history.

You can apply for SSDI online, via the SSA’s website, or in person, at an SSA office. Applying for SSI however requires an appointment with your local office as there is no online application process for this program. To make an appointment to apply, call 1-800-772-1213. 

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Additional Resources

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!