In 2012, getting diagnosed with HIV does not mean the end of a person’s life. There are effective treatments that can help keep infected people healthy for years and even decades. As we mentioned on Monday, the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Blue Book listing for HIV and AIDS details common HIV-related diseases and conditions that result in disability. However, the SSA is always searching for the most accurate methods of evaluation possible. As the prognosis and treatment options for HIV and AIDS change, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has looked into reevaluating what constitutes a disability for people who are infected with the virus.
The Institute of Medicine released a set of recommendations in 2011 for the SSA to be able to more accurately gauge whether AIDS patients or HIV-infected applicants qualify for disability benefits. Per the Institute’s recommendations, qualifying applicants should meet one of these criteria:
- A CD4 count at or below 50 cells per cubic millimeter of blood serum. This is a benchmark for more advanced stages of HIV and AIDS.
- Diagnosis with an HIV or AIDS-related disease such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, certain lymphomas and other conditions. These conditions are largely fatal.
- Diagnosis with at least one HIV-related condition such as chronic kidney disease, hepatitis or cardiovascular disease.
- Any other HIV-associated condition.
These new criteria will only be used to determine the eligibility status of new applicants for disability benefits. Recipients who have already been approved will not be affected. If you have any questions about your eligibility for SSA benefits or the application process, contact our Tulsa Social Security Disability attorney today for helpful information and a free consultation. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.