Can I Apply For Disability If I Have Hepatitis C?
Last updated: March 2022
What Is Disability?
Disability is short for disability insurance, a program in the United States that every working citizen pays into with each paycheck. This insurance is intended to cover basic living costs for American citizens who are born disabled or who become disabled during the course of their lives. The application process to qualify for disability typically involves medical examinations and appointments with the disability insurance office. There, the documentation is assessed and a person who qualifies for receiving disability insurance finds out their personal plan. In some cases, the insurance is on a limited time schedule, for others, new documentation is required every so often, and for some, their disability requires a one-time claim and they are covered by disability insurance for a lifetime.
Who Qualifies For Disability?
People who qualify for disability insurance are those who have a condition that prevents them from working for a short, long, or indefinite period of time. These people can include those who are injured and need to be home to heal before they can return to work, such as someone who has broken an ankle and is unable to work in a factory position which requires consistent standing. People who may require a number of medical treatments to be able to work again, such as someone with a cancer diagnosis, may also qualify, as they may need several months of chemotherapy and other treatments before being considered healthy enough to return to work. There are also those who were born with mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from ever working, such as people with Down’s Syndrome, people with some forms of severe autism, people who are paraplegics, and others whose conditions are unlikely to ever change. For those with short-term concerns, such as a broken bone, the disability insurance agency will likely only provide assistance for the amount of time it takes the person to heal, as based on the medical information provided by the person’s doctor. For those with longer-term illnesses, such as cancer diagnoses, the disability insurance office may require new documentation every 8-12 weeks in order to continue to provide support. For those with permanent conditions that have documentation to back up the lack of expectation of ever being able to work, the disability insurance agency may not require new documentation because nothing is expected to change.
Do I Qualify For Disability If I Have Hepatitis C?
This very much depends on your personal medical experience with hepatitis C. In most acute cases of the viral infection (those that were diagnosed within 6 months of infection), there may be little to no symptoms and the person may be able to continue to work and live their normal schedule while receiving treatment. For those with chronic cases of the viral infection (those that were diagnosed after having the infection for longer than 6 months), qualifying for disability insurance depends on the symptoms that the individual is experiencing. For example, a person with no symptoms would not qualify. A person with small symptoms may not qualify for disability insurance but may qualify for assistance within their company in adjusting their working role according to any change in physical ability, such as needing more frequent rest or restroom breaks due to treatment medication. In these cases, you should speak with your doctor to acquire proper documentation, which can then be presented to the human resources department of your company. For those with severe symptoms due to their hepatitis C infection, it may be possible to qualify for disability insurance. For example, if a person has acquired cirrhosis of the liver and must be regularly on dialysis or if they must remain hospitalized or bedbound until a transplant occurs, they would likely qualify for disability insurance. In short, to qualify for disability insurance due to your hepatitis C diagnosis, there needs to be no jobs you can do due to your illness. Your doctor would need to provide documentation and medical records which explain why you could not maintain a job of any sort, including jobs requiring standing, sitting, using the phone, or maintaining any work standards. To qualify for disability insurance, the standard is not simply whether you can continue to work in the job you had before your diagnosis but whether you are mentally and physically capable of maintaining any job at all. For example, chronic liver disease which requires you to be bedbound and where the medication treatment leaves you exhausted and sleeping most of the day would likely qualify you for disability insurance since there would be no opportunity for you to maintain gainful employment. Having jaundice due to a hepatitis C infection and feeling insecure about your appearance would be stressful for you but would not impact your ability to work, thus not qualifying you for disability insurance. If you are seriously struggling to maintain employment due to the symptoms of your hepatitis C diagnosis, but you are uncertain whether your symptoms qualify you for disability insurance, speak with your doctor. Together, you can decide whether your symptoms can be treated so you can continue to work or if there is enough objective medical recording to allow you to qualify for disability insurance.1-7