Obtaining disability benefits after you’ve become infected with chronic hepatitis can be a difficult task.
If your claim for hepatitis disability benefits has been denied by your insurance company, the Social Security Administration or the Veterans Administration, Marc Whitehead & Associates can help. Since 1992, we’ve been representing clients who are unable to work due to chronic hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other serious medical conditions. When your claim has been denied, we can help you get the disability benefits you deserve.
Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C: What Is the Difference?
While hepatitis can result from environmental toxins, alcohol or drug abuse, fat in the liver, certain medications, trauma and autoimmune diseases, the most common cause of hepatitis in the U.S. is infection by either hepatitis A (HAV), hepatitis B (HBV), or hepatitis C (HCV) virus.
The hepatitis A virus is spread through contaminated food and water, while hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses are spread through blood, semen, and other bodily fluids. Symptoms of hepatitis can include jaundice, dark colored urine, fever, muscle or joint aches, abdominal pain, pruritus (itching), fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite.
Hepatitis is diagnosed through medical evaluation and blood tests. It can be acute, with symptoms lasting less than six months, or it can be chronic, with symptoms lasting longer than six months. It can go away on its own after a short period or persist over many years, during which the symptoms and signs may be nonspecific, intermittent, and mild.
Some may suffer no ill effects from the disease, while others may become seriously ill. Over time, chronic hepatitis C can lead to liver cell necrosis, scarring (fibrosis or cirrhosis) and other liver damage, liver cancer and even liver failure.
Filing a Claim for Hepatitis Disability Benefits
In most cases, only those who suffer from chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C are eligible for disability benefits. And while hepatitis B and hepatitis C are potentially serious health conditions, simply being infected with the virus isn’t enough to qualify for disability benefits, since many effective treatment options are available.
You must be able to prove that either your hepatitis has resulted in significant liver damage that has left you unable to work any job, or that side effects from the treatment for your hepatitis has left you unable to work. How you may have become infected with the disease isn’t relevant.
Treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis C varies considerably based on medication tolerance, treatment response, adverse effects of treatment, and duration of the treatment. Interferon, ribavirin (Rebetal), telaprevir (Incivek), boceprevir (Victrellis) and other medication used to treat HCV are hard on the body.
These treatments can cause severe side effects, including:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty with memory or concentration
In worst case scenarios, a liver transplant may be the patient’s only treatment option.
Complications from loss of liver function that could affect your ability to work include:
- Bleeding disorders
- Ascites (a build-up of fluid in the abdomen)
- Kidney failure
- Hydrothorax (ascitic fluid in the chest cavity)
- Hepatic encephalopathy (which can cause fatigue and diminished mental abilities)
- Hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer
March Whitehead & Associates will work closely with you and your physicians to make sure you have the proper documentation to show that you suffer from either chronic hepatitis B or C and that the disease and/or its treatment has left you unable to work.
These documents can include written statements from your physician and other healthcare providers as well as the results of liver function blood tests, imaging studies (CAT scan, ultrasound, MRI ultrasounds, etc.) and a liver biopsy.
Speak With a Hepatitis Disability Lawyer
Your chances for successfully obtaining disability benefits for chronic hepatitis B and C greatly increase when your claim is represented by an experienced hepatitis disability claims lawyer. Marc Whitehead is a pre-eminent disability denial attorney handling long-term disability matters in state and federal courts.
He’s Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, an Accredited Veterans Claim Attorney as required to practice law before the VA and Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law.
Marc Whitehead & Associates have helped many disabled individuals all over the country get the long term disability benefits they deserve, even after their claims were initially denied. If hepatitis or another serious medical condition is preventing you from working, Marc Whitehead & Associates are here to see you get the full disability benefits you are entitled to. Contact the law offices of Marc Whitehead & Associates online or call us at (800) 562-9830 to speak with one of our highly experienced hepatitis disability lawyers. We are headquartered in Houston, TX but serve clients all over the U.S.