Progression of Kidney Disease
Many people live with mild kidney disease, also referred to as chronic kidney failure, which is a progressive, gradual loss of kidney function. In fact, more than 37 million Americans, or 1 out of every 7 adults, suffers with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and most of them don’t even realize it. While certain risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney failure, kidney stones, as well as advanced age and prolonged use of OTC pain medications can make people more susceptible to CKD, anyone can end up suffering from kidney failure.
It is possible to continue to work for many years, even with moderate kidney failure. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms can worsen, making it difficult or impossible to work.
Kidney disease can sometimes be slowed – arresting progression – with the use of medications and a special diet. Nevertheless, both the disease and the side effects of treatment, can result in limitations which affect the ability to work on a full-time basis. When kidney disease progresses to this point, it is time to consider filing a Social Security disability benefit application for kidney disease.
Severity of Symptoms
The question of eligibility for disability benefits will depend on the severity of symptoms. Progressive kidney disease can cause impairment of renal function and diminish functional capacity, causing pain, edema, neuropathy, and weight fluctuation. Typically controlled with medication, kidney disease tends to worsen as time passes. Under SSA regulations, the illness is considered a “Genito-Urinary Impairment” and the disabling condition must last, or be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months.
If you require dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant, your claim should be quickly granted at the application level. Some kidney cancers also allow for rapid approval under the recently enacted Compassionate Allowance policies.
A patient is considered disabled for 12 months after kidney transplant surgery, according to the Social Security Administration. This is due to the necessity of immunosuppressive drugs being administered after the surgery, which can lead to severe infection, as well as the high risk of organ rejection.
A claimant may qualify for benefits based on the severity of more subtle symptoms caused by renal disease. Neuropathy caused by kidney failure can result in severe pain and numbness of the hands and/or feet – making most jobs impossible to perform. SSA considers physical findings, laboratory results, as well as symptoms.
Additionally, medication for this constellation of symptoms has significant side effects, including profound fatigue, high blood pressure, nausea, weight loss, and diarrhea, while steroids cause long-term bone loss. These side effects can be considered for disability qualification when properly documented. When the kidney condition does not meet this regulation’s criteria exactly, the SSA must also consider if a “combination of impairments” meets the standard for disability.
Consult with a Knowledgeable San Francisco, CA Social Security Disability Lawyer
We invite you to consult with our knowledgeable San Francisco, CA Social Security Disability lawyer about any of your clients or patients who are experiencing a disabling condition – either as a direct result of kidney disease or from a combination of disease progression and medication side effects.