Judy Gray Johnson
Author of Living with Sickle Cell Disease: The Struggle to Survive and Resilience
Applying for Disability Benefits for Sickle Cell Disease

As you know, the severe pain and symptoms associated with sickle cell disease can prevent sufferers from working full- or part-time, which in turn can lead to financial hardship and increased stress. However, the good news is that Social Security Disability benefits can help sickle cell patients ease the twin burdens of financial and physical stress.

Following are tips from Molly Clarke of the website Social Security Disability Help on how to apply for and receive Social Security Disability benefits:

Qualifying for Social Security Disability with Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book—or guide of disabling conditions. To qualify for disability benefits you must make sure that your symptoms match the criteria listed by the SSA in the Blue Book. To do so, you must be able to provide medical evidence that you suffer from the following:

·         That you have had painful thrombotic instances that have been documented at least three times during the past five months; or

·         That you have suffered from symptoms that have required extended hospitalization at least three times during the past 12 months; or

·         That you suffer from severe anemia with a haematocrit of 26 percent or less; or

·         That you have resulting impairments in other affected body systems due to the condition.

It is understandable if you do not completely understand some of this medical terminology. If you have any questions, it would be wise to sit down with your doctor to discuss the medical qualifications for Social Security Disability benefits.

Applying for Benefits

As part of your initial application for disability benefits you will be asked to provide the details of your medical condition. You will also be asked to provide medical evidence to support your claim. You should be prepared to provide thoroughly detailed answers and medical documentation. The more thorough your initial application, the more likely it is that you will be approved for disability benefits.

If you are unable to support your case with medical documentation, you will likely be denied. If you find yourself facing these circumstances you will need to pursue a disability appeal. This means that you will appear before an administrative law judge where you will be able to state your case.

Working with a Disability Attorney

It may be in your best interests to hire the services of a disability attorney. By working with an attorney you can ensure that your disability claim forms are filled out properly and that you have the medical evidence necessary to prove your case. Statistics have shown that applicants who retain the services of a disability lawyer are more likely to be approved for benefits than those who do not.

You can begin the Social Security Disability application process by visiting the SSA’s website or by making an appointment with your local Social Security office. If you are interested in learning more about applying for Social Security Disability benefits, visit Social Security Disability Help: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/blog.

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