If you have already undergone a kidney transplant or are on the waitlist for one, you may wonder if the procedure means automatic disability benefits. Understanding the complexities involved in the SSA’s eligibility process is essential, and having the necessary information can help you avoid nasty surprises.
The good news is that you may receive your Social Security disability benefits while you await the transplant and even after the procedure. However, the unique circumstances of your case matter. Here is what you need to know.
Disability benefits for kidney transplant recipients
The SSA has a list of medical conditions that are considered disabling, called the Blue Book. There are sections for different body systems and organs. Section 6.00 of the Blue Book covers genitourinary disorders, which include kidney diseases and transplants.
The SSA considers a kidney transplant a serious impairment that prevents you from working and engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Therefore, you may automatically qualify for disability benefits for 12 months after the surgery.
After 12 months, SSA will reevaluate your case and determine if you still meet the criteria for disability based on your condition at that time. SSA will examine your residual impairments, which are any limitations or complications you still have after the transplant. They may include:
- Chronic rejection of the transplanted kidney
- Frequent infections
- Side effects of immunosuppressive medications
- Reduced kidney function
- Other organ damage or failure
The SSA will use your medical records, lab tests and doctor’s opinions to assess your condition and functional capacity. You may continue to receive disability benefits should your residual impairments be severe enough to prevent you from working.
Seek the necessary legal guidance
If you have questions about the SSA claims process or your eligibility, it’s best to seek help and get the right answers. Proper legal representation can ease things for you and increase the chances of a desirable outcome.