Friday, December 3, 2010

Dialysis & Disability

Kidneys filter waste, excess fluid, and toxins from the blood. When a person’s kidneys stop working fatigue commonly occurs. As the kidney failure progresses the fatigue may prevent a person from working on a full time basis, which could support a claim for disability benefits.

There are two ways for a person with failing kidneys to establish entitlement to Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. A claimant can show that the resulting fatigue prevents them from being able to perform the physical demands of work during an eight hour work day. Alternatively, a claimant can establish that they meet the “listing” criteria for chronic renal disease if the condition requires dialysis.

I represent a former police officer from Queens whose SSD application was approved today without a hearing. The senior staff attorney said he had no problem approving the on-the-record (“OTR”) request I had submitted because there was evidence both that the claimant lacked the ability to work a full day, and met the renal disease listing criteria. The staff attorney contacted me though because he needed an explanation for the officer’s income after his disability onset, for which I supplied a statement that it represented sick time.

Using both methods for establishing disability and offering to assist the staff attorney overcome any issues he perceived enabled the officer to avoid a protracted wait of months if not years for a hearing. Moreover, a hearing did not necessarily guaranty that the SSD application would be approved.

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