Cirrhosis is classified as a liver disease. Patients with liver disease rarely exhibit symptoms; thus, this illness is often referred to as a “silent” condition. After someone suffers long-term damage to this critical organ, the liver’s healthy tissue is replaced by scar tissue, and the liver can no longer perform its important functions such as fighting infections, filtering toxins, assisting in the body’s digestion of significant nutrients, and blood clotting.

If you’re unable to work due to cirrhosis, you may be eligible for disability from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Listed in section 5.05 of the SSA’s Blue Book of Impairments, chronic liver disease can be disabling, but it may be difficult to obtain benefits for this disease. An experienced Social Security (SS) attorney can help ensure you meet the criteria and submit a successful claim.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cirrhosisdoc_and_patient

When you’re diagnosed with a serious disease like cirrhosis, you need information about how this condition will affect your life and how to move forward.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about it.

How is cirrhosis diagnosed?

Doctors may diagnose cirrhosis by evaluating any symptoms you may have, ordering blood tests, evaluating your medical history, and giving you a physical exam. However, the only way to definitively diagnose this condition is by having a liver biopsy. A doctor performs this biopsy by removing a liver tissue sample and analyzing it under a microscope. This test is the only one that confirms a patient has cirrhosis.

How does alcohol affect the liver?

Some people believe the type of alcohol consumed is the most critical factor in developing liver disease. However, the biggest risk factor is the amount you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking. In fact, any amount of consumed alcohol can damage the liver. According to The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, moderate drinking means one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

Can liver damage be reversed?

The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate. It can replace damaged tissue with new cells. Even if the patient experiences extreme liver damage and up to 50–60 percent of the cells are killed within a three or four day period, the liver can still repair itself completely if there aren't additional complications.

But regeneration is impeded or prevented if scar tissue continues to develop. This occurs if the agent that damages the liver such as a drug, a virus, or alcohol continues to attack it. Cirrhosis is the severe scarring of the liver and is usually part of late stage liver disease. Once the patient experiences scar tissue, it’s difficult to reverse the process.

We Can Help

If you’ve been diagnosed with cirrhosis, you may qualify for SS disability benefits, but it’s important to work with an experienced SS attorney who can help determine if you meet a listing in the Blue Book. Contact the attorneys at Cuddigan Law who can assist you with the process and work with you on your application to increase your chances of getting an approved claim.


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