Individuals living with HIV or AIDS disability endure a life-threatening condition in which their immune system is seriously impaired, leaving them susceptible to illnesses that the body would otherwise fight.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. People infected with HIV may experience mild, flu-like symptoms for several weeks. As the disease spreads and the virus builds in the blood stream, symptoms may increase to include weight loss, persistent diarrhea, fatigue and weakness, cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
Without treatment for HIV, the infection progresses to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency yndrome) within about 10 years. This progression from HIV to AIDS happens as the HIV virus destroys CD4 cells, also called T-helper cells. These are the white blood cells that help your body fight disease.
If your claim for benefits based on HIV/AIDS disability has been denied, the attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates can help. We have been dedicated to this work since 1992 and have assisted many people with HIV to obtain the disability benefits they so desperately need. Whether your claim was denied by an insurance company, Social Security, or the VA, don’t let them win without a fight.
Winning a claim for HIV/AIDS disability benefits can be difficult on your own.
HIV-positive and AIDS patients now have better medical treatment and powerful anti-viral drugs available to them. Although this can lead to longer, improved lives, thousands of people live every day with serious HIV/AIDS disability from the disease itself, compounded by illnesses related to the disease, and side effects of treatment.
By the time a person is diagnosed with AIDS, their immune system has been severely damaged. Infections, cancers or other conditions that might not harm a healthy person are able to invade an AIDS patient’s unhealthy immune system and cause severe or fatal illness.
You may have tried to apply for disability benefits to deal with the difficulties you face when living with HIV/AIDS. It’s not uncommon for first-time applicants with any medical condition to be declined on the first try.
A denial isn’t the end of your application, because you can appeal. Don’t give up on the first try — get help immediately.
If you need help getting the benefits you need, contact us today for vigilant help with your claim.
Social Security Disability Claims for HIV/AIDS Disability
Social Security will first evaluate disability based on your medical information. The Social Security Listing of Impairments lists HIV/AIDS under Immune System Disorders listing 14.11 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. This outlines the medical criteria that qualify an HIV or AIDS patient for benefits.
Social Security states that in order for claims for HIV-AIDS disability to meet the medical listing, you must demonstrate that you have one of the following:
- Castleman disease affecting multiple groups of lymph nodes or organs containing lymphoid tissue
- central nervous system lymphoma
- primary effusion lymphoma
- progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
- pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma
- absolute CD4 count of 50 cells/mm3 or less
- absolute CD4 count of less than 200 cells/mm3 or CD4 percentage of less than 14 percent, and one of the following:
- BMI measurement of less than 18.5, or
- Hemoglobin measurement of less than 8.0 grams per deciliter (g/dL).
- HIV complications requiring at least three hospitalizations within a 12-month period. Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours and be at least 30 days apart.
- repeated HIV infections, including the conditions listed above that don’t meet the criteria above, with one of the following:
- severe limitation of activities of daily living
- severe limitation in social functioning, or
- severe limitation in completing tasks due to problems concentrating, keeping up with the pace, or endurance.
The conditions that may contribute with this last requirement may include:
- Bacterial viral, parasitic, and fungal infections
- Protozoan or helminthic infections
- Malignant neoplasms (cancerous tumors)
- Specific conditions of the skin or mucous membranes, with lesions that do not respond to treatment
- HIV encephalopathy
- HIV wasting syndrome (malnutrition)
- Extreme, persistent diarrhea
- Cervical cancer or PID (in females)
- Meningitis, pneumonia, sepsis, septic arthritis, endocarditis, sinusitis
- Intestinal tract-based Kaposi’s Sarcoma
- Repeated occurrences of HIV infection
These conditions would have to be severe enough to cause substantial physical symptoms such as headaches, fever, severe fatigue, nausea, weight loss, night sweats, pain. HIV-associated dementia, or mental/cognitive limitations to qualify under the last requirement.
Under the 2017 policy update, different types of bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infections or diarrhea will not qualify you for disability benefits on their own unless they cause one of the more acute limitations, such as daily living, social functioning, or the inability to complete tasks.
Social Security criteria for HIV disability insurance also allows for medication side effects and long-term HIV-related conditions, as well as “holidays,” in which a doctor stops your medication for a short period of time.
Claims for HIV/AIDS disability benefits must provide documentation of HIV infection, including test results and a thorough medical history that explains when the illness became disabling. A medical report should describe examinations, treatment, laboratory findings, HIV testing, diagnosis and prognosis. It is also very important that your medical report offers specific details about your ability to perform work-related activities.
Preparing and filing properly documented disability claim for AIDS or HIV can be overwhelming. Your claim must include a wide range of medical records, including testing, medications and treatment, and accepted laboratory test results. But whether Social Security bases their denial on medical evidence or your ability to work, be persistent and do not give up after a denial. We know what it takes to overturn a denial for HIV/AIDS disability, and are fully prepared to help you appeal your Social Security Disability claim and secure the benefits you need.
Claims for HIV or AIDS disability compensation under Social Security Disability can be difficult and complicated. If Social Security denied your claim, contact Marc Whitehead & Associates at 800.562.9830. We are Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law, and have significant experience in helping HIV/AIDS victims receive the benefits that are rightfully theirs.
Veterans Claims for HIV/AIDS Disability Benefits
While there is a focus on PTSD in veterans, one of the least-discussed conditions is HIV and AIDS in the veteran population. The VA is one of the largest providers of care for HIV and AIDS in the US. If you’re a veteran with service-connected HIV/AIDS, you can apply for disability through the VA, just as you would with any other disabling condition.
The VA rater will comply with the Schedule for Rating Disabilities when deciding the level of a veteran’s service-connected disability. HIV/AIDS is listed under Infectious diseases, immune disorders and nutritional deficiencies.
Veteran’s claims for HIV can be a long, legalistic process. You must prove that your HIV/AIDS disability was contracted during your military service, even if the symptoms only appeared after you were discharged. Military medical records, as well as evidence from non-military sources, can be used to establish a service connection..
When being considered for disability benefits, veterans are forced to endure a very complicated and frustrating application process. Even if an initial claim was properly submitted, most are denied and the veteran is forced to appeal. An already unsatisfactory process becomes worse, as appeals can take years to complete, leaving a disabled veteran with no answers. But you don’t have to go through the appeal process on your own—we can help.
We encourage veterans to speak with us the moment they have a denial for any claim. We will ensure your claim gets the attention it deserves from the VA. We will assess your claim without charge and give you a knowledgeable, straightforward opinion as to your chances to win your appeal.
Our firm serves injured and disabled soldiers throughout the United States. If you have met resistance from the VA on your claim for disability compensation for HIV or AIDS, please contact us immediately. We are Accredited Veterans Claim Attorneys, and can represent you at all levels of the VA disability system.
HIV/AIDS Disability Claims under Long Term Insurance
Disability insurance companies often deny claims, or terminate existing claims for AIDS patients, using a number of different arguments.
Insurers may deny your claim from the premise that medical treatments have stabilized your condition to where you can work full time. They will argue that HIV is a pre-existing condition, or that your medical records do not prove that you are disabled. They may also argue that your medical treatment is sufficiently managing your condition, so you are not disabled, and fully able to work.
Like any other disabling condition, you will need detailed medical records to demonstrate the progression of your illness, the increased difficulty you are experiencing, and the side effects of any medication you’re taking that make working difficult. You should also seek out a specialist, since an insurer may not consider your primary care physician isn’t qualified to prescribe the correct treatment or render an opinion.
Marc Whitehead & Associates is a disability law firm with significant experience in the internal claims handling and process of all major disability insurance companies and their affiliates. We handle both ERISA disability and private disability claims.
If your insurance provider has denied your claim for disability due to HIV/AIDS,, we can help you make a strong and valid appeal for benefits. The insurance company hopes that you will give up. ; Instead of giving up and letting them win, allow us to review your claim and advise you on the next steps. The appointment is free, and there’s no charge or obligation.
We welcome your call.
Strong, respected legal counsel fighting on your behalf can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your disability claim. If your claim has been unfairly denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security or your insurance provider, request a free consultation with a lawyer about your HIV/AIDS disability case. Call us today at 800-562-9830 or 713-228-8888. Our phones are answered 24/7, and the consultation is free. We also have free e-books to help you learn more and understand about the process on our Resources Page.