Does Social Security have special considerations for women with HIV?

Yes. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a general listing for those who are unable to work due to HIV infection, it also has some specific guidelines for granting disability payments to women with HIV.

HIV infection can manifest itself in a number of different ways, causing complications throughout a person’s body. Many of these complications will affect more women than men, including:

  • Symptoms of infection. All HIV positive patients may suffer other infections as a result of immunosuppression; however, symptoms often vary between men and women. Women who suffer wasting syndrome, cryptococcosis, or toxoplasmosis may experience a more aggravated form of infection that is more pervasive and results in longer treatment times.
  • Gynecologic conditions. An infection or complicating symptoms in an HIV positive woman’s reproductive organs may be more resistant to treatment. The SSA will give special consideration to women based on reproductive system conditions caused by HIV infection, such as pelvic pain, cervical cancer, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Involuntary weight loss. HIV infection, as well as many of its treatments, can often cause problems in the digestive system, resulting in malnutrition and weight loss. Patients may apply for disability under extreme weight loss if they have lost at least 10 percent of their baseline weight. Your doctor can help determine whether your weight loss due to your condition is considered significant.

In addition to suffering from a complicating medical condition, women with HIV infection will need to explain how their infection specifically prevents them from functioning in the workplace.

Are you suffering with a condition that makes it impossible to work? We can help you gather your medical records and advise you on how to build a case for disability benefits. Email us today at [email protected] to ask us a question about your application.

Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience