HIV/AIDS and Social Security Disability


If you have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and can no longer work, you should know that you are eligible to receive benefits from Social Security disability. The determination for eligibility is accomplished with a tool called the Residual Functioning Capacity assessment, which measures your physical, mental, and sensory abilities in regard to work. To learn more about how the RFC works, read the information below.

Your illness can affect you in multiple ways, and as the level of severity of your symptoms rises, so does the likelihood of your work being affected. The early symptoms of HIV can include fever, diarrhea, weight loss, and shortness of breath, all of which can make it difficult to work at most jobs. Some symptoms involve loss of feeling or tingling in the extremities, making it difficult to impossible to manipulate with your arms, hands, and feet.

If AIDS develops, the symptoms worsen dramatically since your lowered immune system makes you far more likely to develop infections. Pneumonia can occur, and many people suffer brain impairment, caused by toxoplasmosis. Medications to control these symptoms often have severe side effects themselves, making it very difficult to work.

The RFC is filled out by a claims examiner for the Social Security Administration in conjunction with a medical consultant and examines how your illness and its treatments have affected your ability to work. Your medical records and doctor's notes will be taken into account, and your level of disability will be determined.

  • In the physical effects area of the RFC, overwhelming fatigue is often the primary issue affecting claimants, followed by pain and weakness. The side effects of medication are also considered in the evaluation.
  • Your mental abilities will be considered as well. Issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of concentration, and confusion are common. You will be evaluated in terms of cognitive ability, memory, and problem solving.
  • Sensory issues concern the effects that HIV/AIDS has had on your five senses: vision, hearing, speech, touch, and smell. In this area, limitations to your work environment are also examined, such as an inability to work outdoors due to photosensitivity caused by medication.

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be an exhausting and confusing process, so you should strongly consider the need for an attorney to guide you through the steps and be an advocate for you. With help, you will be able to work through the process as quickly as possible and get the disability benefits that you deserve. Consider contacting professionals such as those as Cohen & Siegel LLP for further information.


26 May 2015

Staying Strong During A Legal Battle

When you are involved in a messy car accident, things can get complicated fast. In addition to proving who was at fault, you might also have to worry about healing. However, you don't have to endure long phone calls and complicated insurance paperwork on your own. Hiring an attorney is the key to remaining strong during the aftermath of a car accident. As you think about your own situation, try to figure out if you can do things on your own. If you feel like you need a little help, don't be afraid to talk with an attorney. The information on this website should help you to decide how legal counsel can help you.