Sickle cell disease can trigger one or more serious symptoms that can keep you out of work for an extended period. Chronic fatigue, episodes of excruciating pain, and acute vision problems all can derail a career. If you suffer from sickle cell disease and it has forced you off the job, you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Since a majority of claims come back denied, you should work with a disability attorney to submit the most convincing medical evidence.
Submitting persuasive medical evidence is just one of five signs you may be approved for disability benefits.
Sign #1: Earn Enough Work Credits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires workers to amass enough work credits before submitting a disability claim. How many work credits you need depends on your age when you lost your job because of the development of sickle cell disease. For 2021, workers earn one work credit for every $1,470 generated in wages or self-employment income. When you generate $5,880 in wage or self-employment income, then you earn four work credits.
Sign #2: Submit the Right Medical Documents
Medical evidence comes in the form of the documents completed by your physician. The results of diagnostic tests can detect abnormalities in the blood cells, which is a vital part of confirming the presence of sickle cell disease. You should also send the SSA the paperwork that documents your treatment and rehabilitation programs.
The type of treatment and rehabilitation programs can educate the SSA about the seriousness of your medical condition. Your doctor should submit a prognosis report that includes a section describing your chances of returning to work.
Sign #3: 12 Consecutive Months Out of Work
You can submit the most compelling medical evidence and not get your claim approved because you failed to demonstrate that you missed work for 12 consecutive months. Meeting the 12-month mandate for getting disability benefits approved for sickle cell disease requires the submission of your employer’s timekeeping records. Copies of your bank statements can support your employer’s timekeeping records because the paperwork should demonstrate a significant drop in income.
Sign #4: Meet the Medical Guidelines Established by the SSA
A team of medical examiners from the SSA refers to a medical guide called the Blue Book to determine eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. Section 7.05 of the Blue Book describes four ways a worker can qualify for disability benefits with sickle cell disease.
- Documentation that proves you suffered from severe pain requiring medication at least six times in the last year, with a minimum of 30 days between episodes
- You suffer from complications of hemolytic anemia that required three hospitalizations of at least 48 hours per hospitalization over the past year
- Three measurements within one year for hemoglobin do not reach 7.0 grams per deciliter
- You suffer from beta thalassemia major, which requires RBC transfusions at least one time every six weeks for the rest of your life
Sign #5: Work with a Disability Attorney
Because most claims for disability benefits come back denied by the SSA, the process for seeking financial assistance can be highly frustrating. The chances the SSA approves your claim may be improved by working with a Social Security disability lawyer. Your attorney may help you meet every deadline, as well as can guide you through the appeals process if the SSA denies your claim.
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