Board Certified-Social Security Disability Law
National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy
Board Certified-Personal Injury Trial Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Hepatitis Disability Benefits Attorney
If you have been denied a claim for hepatitis disability benefits, whether it was filed under a disability insurance plan, or the Social Security or Veterans’ disability programs, you’re now dealing with frustration and fear about your future.
Victims of chronic hepatitis may need to stop working because symptoms from their infection, or side effects from treatment, have become totally disabling. There often are complex disability issues involved with hepatitis claims, such as when the degree of fatigue and other symptoms reported in the claim may not match the severity of liver disease or the level of virus in the body.
Causes of Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a liver disease, causing inflammation of the liver and affecting its ability to function. Several distinct types of hepatitis viruses exist, and most have been named types A though G. Each type has its own causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) are the forms that most often lead to hepatitis disability claims.
Hepatitis B is a blood-borne virus, generally spread through infected blood, unprotected sex, and intravenous drug use. Some adults who get hepatitis B may or may not be able to rid the disease from their body. Most infants who contract the virus from an infected mother will have it for life. Common effects of hepatitis B are cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and liver failure.
Hepatitis C is usually spread though direct contact with infected blood or intravenous drug use. Some victims of this form will overcome the disease. The majority will be infected by the virus long term. Please read more about Hepatitis C and disability here.
At first, the effects of hepatitis liver disease may be unnoticeable. When symptoms occur, they can include fever, yellow skin and eyes (jaundice), fatigue, nausea, and stomach pain. Some victims suffer no signs of hepatitis or disability for years – yet once symptoms do appear, damage may have already happed to the liver.
It is common for hepatitis symptoms to intensify over time. Therefore, it is advisable to keep your doctor fully informed of every symptom as it occurs or worsens. This is one of the most critical things you can do in support of your disability claim.
Was Your Hepatitis Disability Claim Denied by Social Security?
Hepatitis is considered a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is found in the SSA Listing of Impairments under Digestive System Listing 5.05 Chronic Liver Disease. Although Social Security recognizes hepatitis as a disabling condition, being infected is not enough to automatically qualify you for disability benefits.
Attorney Marc Whitehead is Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy. If you have been denied, our firm can help you fight for and win the benefits you need, throughout every step of the process.
To qualify under Social Security, your hepatitis disability is subject to the evaluation of many criteria. Ultimately, SSA must determine that the hepatitis has impaired you to such a degree that you are unable to work.
Fatigue is a main disabling factor with hepatitis patients, yet fatigue is not a symptom listed under SSA’s definition of chronic liver disease. Never an easy symptom to verify, fatigue issues must be carefully recorded in your medical records, and diagnosis of any problems you have that intensify fatigue will improve your case.
Your physician plays a critical role in your hepatitis disability claim. We understand that your doctor may not be familiar with how Social Security determines disability. Our attorneys will reveal any deficiencies in your medical records, and help you obtain the medical evidence required to fully represent your case to the Social Security judge. We will handle every aspect of your appeal and work to make sure you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.
Veterans’ Claims for Hepatitis Disability
As accredited Veterans claim attorneys, our firm gets many inquiries from veterans who are frustrated with the VA disability process. We are encouraged when they contact us, because we are ready and able to assist them at any level of the claims process.
Thousands of veterans have tested positive for hepatitis; in fact, in greater numbers than for the general public. Veterans who risk exposure to the hepatitis virus during their term of service include combat veterans, military corpsman and medical personnel.
The Department of Veterans Affairs follows the VA schedule for rating disabilities when determining the level of a veteran’s hepatitis disability. The schedule lists hepatitis in the section for The Digestive System as follows:
- Chronic liver disease without cirrhosis (including hepatitis B, chronic active hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, hemochromatosis, drug-induced hepatitis, etc., but excluding bile duct disorders and hepatitis C); and
- Hepatitis C (or non-A, non-B hepatitis)
In many cases, establishing service connection can be difficult; determination of service connection requires a full evaluation of all modes of transmission.
A veteran may also qualify for hepatitis disability benefits under Social Security at the same time. If you are awarded veteran’s benefits, your Social Security benefits should not be affected.
If you need help getting the benefits you deserve, contact our Veterans’ attorneys today. We have fought and won cases for disabled veterans across the country, and we welcome your call.
Hepatitis Disability Claims for Long Term Disability Insurance
Even if your doctor confirms that your health problems prevent you from working, your claim for long-term disability benefits could be turned down. The attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates represent denied claims for hepatitis disability, and are quite experienced in dealing with insurance companies that unfairly turn down claimants for various reasons.
As is often the case with viral hepatitis, symptoms such as fatigue are subjective, meaning they are abstract and difficult to prove. Hepatitis B or C symptoms can fluctuate, or gradually become more severe. Insurance companies will argue that you cannot qualify subjective symptoms.
Perhaps side effects from medications of interferon and antiviral treatments are disabling you even more so than symptoms directly resulting from liver damage. For example, the medication may cause mood swings, making it a genuine problem to deal with other workers, or handle pressure situations.
You physician’s support of disability is important, but much more is needed. It is critical to provide complete medical records documenting your disability from office visits, treatment plans, lab tests, and supporting testimony from your place of work. Also, your doctor may not know the definition of disability as stated in your disability insurance policy.
If you have been denied benefits for hepatitis disability by your private insurance company or through your employer’s benefits plan, get in touch with the attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates. We know what needs to be done, and how to represent your claim for maximum success.
Talk with our attorneys today.
Call our firm toll free at 800-562-9830 or ask a lawyer a question about your hepatitis disability now.
We provide representation in all 50 states to the chronically ill and disabled.