Do I automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits if I have sickle cells?

Not necessarily. There are many different forms of sickle cell disease, and each one has a variety of symptoms. The presence of sickle cells in your blood is not enough to qualify for disability payments—you must prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your disease is disabling to the point that it is difficult for you to work regularly.

Who Qualifies for Approval?

Patients with sickle cell disease who have one or more of the following will usually qualify for Social Security benefits:

  • Thrombotic crises (painful blood clots in the blood vessels) that have occurred at least three times in the past five months
  • Hospitalization for medial episodes or crises (not including emergency treatment) at least three times in the past year
  • Chronic anemia (a persistent hematocrit of 26% or less)
  • Secondary impairments caused by sickle disease that meet another disability listing such as stroke, kidney failure, vision problems, or congestive heart failure

In order to qualify for benefits, you will need to collect all of the required medical records from Lakeside Hospital in Omaha or any other hospitals that treated you during your crises, including the results of recent blood tests and doctor's notes documenting the specific type of event, the symptoms you have suffered, and the length and severity of crises.

What If I Do Not Meet These Qualifications?

Even if you do not meet the specific requirements for sickle cell disease, you may be found disabled if you are unable to work as a result of your symptoms. For example, patients with sickle cell disease typically cannot do physically demanding tasks, lift heavy objects, or stand exposure to cold for prolonged periods. If you suffer from chronic pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, or if your eyesight has been affected, you may be limited even further.

Want to know more about getting your disability application approved? Click the link on this page to order our free informational guide, Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim.