Sickle cell disease is a large group of blood disorders that include sickle cell anemia. Blood disorders can cause a wide range of physical issues that include episodes of severe pain and bouts with chronic fatigue.
The mental ramifications of living with sickle cell also make it difficult to hold down a steady job. Although there is not a cure for most sickle cell disorders, there is financial relief in the form of a program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The key to maximizing your financial benefits involves working closely with an accomplished Social Security attorney.
Sickle Cell and Physical Issues
Episodic flare-ups of intense pain, which the medical community refers to as pain crises, inhibit job performance for most professionals that suffer from sickle cell. This is especially true for professionals that require extended periods of focused concentration, such as surgeons and other types of hospital employees.
The intense pain typically afflicts the chest, joints, and/or abdomen. Sickle cell also can lead to swollen hands and feet that especially impact professionals that use their hands and feet, from truck drivers to delivery service personnel.
Frequent infections in the spleen cause an incredible amount of fatigue. Even if you work from home, sickle cell can make it difficult to stay energized for prolonged periods. Perhaps the worst physical ramification of sickle cell is impaired vision that can develop into partial blindness. Vision impairment is a concern for virtually every type of professional.
Sickle Cell and Mental Issues
Sickle cell represents a slowly evolving disease that can trigger an incredible amount of frustration. The intense pain comes and goes, and just when you think you are pain-free, the chest, joints, and abdomen flare up at the worst possible time at work.
Frustration can turn into anger, as well as fear and anxiety as to when the intense pain will return. Chronic sickle cell symptoms often cause patients to give up on life, which further compromises the immune system.
Treatments for the disease require isolation that sometimes causes patients to feel distant from the ones they love. Simply trying to cope with the pain has serious negative mental effects as well.
Applying for Disability with Sickle Cell
The SSA publishes a frequently updated version of the Blue Book, which lists all the medical conditions and associated symptoms that qualify applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Sickle cell is listed in the Blue Book under Section 7.05, and the SSA lists four ways a patient with sickle cell can qualify for SSDI benefits.
One of the ways to qualify is to receive a sickle diagnosis that leads to at least three hospitalizations within one year. If you qualify for SSDI benefits, you receive financial compensation to take care of much more than medical costs.
SSDI benefits also cover childcare, lost wages, and daily living expenses. You should submit an SSDI application as soon as possible after receiving a diagnosis for sickle cell.
Speak with a Social Security Attorney
Since the SSDI application process can be complicated, it makes sense to have a state-licensed Social Security attorney in your corner advocating for all your rights. Your lawyer will make sure you submit persuasive evidence not only about the presence of sickle cell, but also how the disease has adversely impacted your career.
Schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Social Security lawyer to determine the strength of your SSDI application.