After years of not knowing what was wrong with you, the doctors at Nebraska Medical Center have finally diagnosed you with having sickle cell anemia. That’s why you feel tired all the time, you’re unable to catch your breath, and your eyesight is only getting worse. Social Security Disability ClaimWhile the diagnosis isn’t good news, at least you know why you feel so awful—and why you haven’t been able to do strenuous activities in your workplace. Now that you know the truth, is there a way you could supplement your income with Social Security disability payments?

Sickle Cell Anemia Carries Many Disabling Complications

Because patients with sickle cell anemia can suffer a wide range of symptoms, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to those who can show evidence of disabling conditions, such as chest pain, fever, rapid heartbeat, severe thirst, frequent urination, and limited eyesight. In addition to the limitations of their symptoms, sickle cell anemia sufferers typically suffer episodic attacks, called crises. These crises usually include one or more of the following:

  • Vaso-occlusion. This occurs when blood flow to the organs are restricted, causing extreme pain and possible organ damage.
  • Splenic sequestration. This is an enlargement of the spleen that causes a hard mass in the abdomen and requires immediate medical intervention.
  • Aplastic anemia. This crisis occurs when red blood cells are not able to carry a proper supply of oxygen throughout the body, causing increased heart rate and fatigue in the patient.
  • Hemolytic crisis. This is a rapid decrease in red blood cells. If not treated quickly, patients can suffer kidney damage.

Sickle cell anemia can also cause secondary conditions to arise in other systems of the body. Patients may suffer gallstones, spleen problems, bone infections, skin ulcers—and even life-threatening complications such as blindness, stroke, or kidney failure.

Getting Disability Benefits for Sickle Cell Disease

As symptoms vary, you will have to prove that your sickle cell anemia conditions are sufficiently disabling before you can receive benefits. This means that your conditions must meet Social Security's disability listing for sickle cell disease or suffer symptoms that are medically equivalent to SSA criteria. If your condition does not meet or equal a listing you may still qualify if  you are unable to work.  To find out more information contact us at (402) 933 5400  or at [email protected]  to get our free book, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case.


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