HIV/AIDS and Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration will award disability to a disability claimant if their HIV/AIDS prevents them from performing all types of work in the national economy or the severity of their HIV/AIDS meets the requirements of Social Security's "Listing of Impairments." Generally, HIV/AIDS disability cases are proven on the basis that a claimant can not perform any work in the national economy focus on the general themes of fatigue, absenteeism, and diarrhea. Fatigue is a common symptom of HIV/AIDS and if a disability applicant is so fatigued that they need to nap during the day; it is going to be difficult for that individual to perform even sedentary employment. The theme of absenteeism centers around the idea that an individual with HIV/AIDS may have a lower immune system and thus be more vulnerable to community illnesses. If an individual is absent from work at least three days a month due to their medical impairment, they will likely be able to get a job but not hold a job. Diarrhea can be a side effect of the HIV/AIDS medications or the result HIV/AIDS. Some diarrhea that HIV/AIDS patients experience is so severe that they need to be close to a bathroom at all times or they would have an accident. The practical effect of this diarrhea problem for an employee is they would require frequent unscheduled bathroom breaks which the majority of employers will not allow.

The Listing of Impairments is another way an individual could be found disabled because of their HIV/AIDS. However, most disability cases awarded by Social Security are awarded on the basis that the claimant is unable to perform any work in the national economy-not on the basis that the claimant meets the requirements in the Listing of Impairments.Under Section 14.08 of the Listing of Impairments, a claimant with HIV/AIDS can be found disabled if they get sick with certain bacterial infections, fungal infections, protozoan or helminthic infections, viral infections, and malignant neoplasms. Other conditions under 14.08 include diarrhea of a certain level of severity, HIV wasting syndrome, and HIV encephalopathy. If you feel that your medical conditions have gotten to the point where you can no longer work, call Cuddigan Law for a free evaluation of your claim 402-933-5405. You can also email [email protected]

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska