Many people work for years with moderate symptoms of kidney disease. The disorder may not progress, or may eventually result in limitations which affect the ability to work on a full-time basis. That is when a Social Security disability benefit application should be considered for kidney disease.
Kidney disease can cause impairment of renal function and functional capacity. The question of disability turns on the severity of symptoms.
This disease has many causes, among which are high blood pressure and diabetes. It is hereditary, and some ethnic groups are more prone to be affected.
It can trigger edema, pain, neuropathy and weight fluctuation. Kidney disease is typically controlled by medication, but tends to worsen as years go by. The illness is considered as a “Genito-Urinary Impairment” under the regulations. The disabling condition must have lasted, or be expected to last for a continuous 12 months.
If you are under dialysis treatment, or needs a kidney transplant, the claim should be granted quickly at the application level. The new Compassionate Allowance policies for some kidney cancers also allow rapid favorable decisions.
Social Security considers a patient disabled for 12 months after transplant surgery because of immunosuppression and the danger of rejection. We can help you be sure everything is lined up to facilitate a quick decision. As always, it is important to get it right the first time.
On a more subtle level, renal disease can be the basis of severe neuropathies that can qualify a claimant for benefits. If hands or feet are significantly impaired by numbness or pain, most jobs are impossible to perform.
SSA considers symptoms, physical findings and laboratory results. Medications for this constellation of illnesses have significant side effects, including high blood pressure, profound fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and weight loss. Steroids have their own set of daily side effects, and can cause long-term bone loss. These side-effects need to be documented for consideration.
If the kidney condition does not exactly meet this regulation’s criteria, Social Security must also consider whether the impairment fits into a “combination of impairments” that are disabling.
Careful analysis is required to evaluate whether the limitations from kidney disease and medication side effects can result in an award of benefits. We would be glad to consult with you about any of your patients or clients who are experiencing these conditions.