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Social Security Disability, End Stage Renal Disease, and Going Back to Work
Excerpt from below:
Social Security considers End Stage Renal Disease to be a severe impairment, which could reasonably cause an individual to have significant limitations. In fact, an individual that has to have chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis due to irreversible kidney failure is an automatic approval for Social Security disability.
Additionally, an individual who has had a kidney transplant is an automatic approval for disability for at least twelve months. After twelve months, Social Security will review the individual’s disability claim to ascertain if the individual has had medical improvement.
Medical improvement depends upon various factors such as post transplant renal function, the occurrence and severity of renal infections, rejection crisis, or incidence of systemic complications (anemia, neuropathy, etc.), or even the side effects of medication such as corticosteriods and immune suppressant medications. Consequently many individuals who have kidney transplants continue to receive disability benefits.
Recently, someone asked the following question, “Should I refuse my Social Security disability approval that is based upon End Stage Renal Disease and return to work because I am feeling better at this particular time?”
She went on to state that she has End Stage Renal Disease that currently does not require dialysis, however she has had the surgery to place the dialysis access and has had the final tests for a kidney transplant should a kidney become available.
In this situation, she filed for Social Security disability thinking it would take many months to be approved for disability. However, she was surprised when she was approved on her initial disability application. She is in a quandary, because she would like to return to work. Should she refuse her Social Security disability benefit and return to work or should she just count herself lucky and hang on to her disability benefit because she may not be so fortunate the next time she files for disability?
Sometimes it’s impossible to advise someone as to what would best suit his or her individual life situation. However, I can explain the criteria used to establish disability based upon End Stage Renal Disease, how work might affect her ability to remain entitled to disability, and what she should do prior to making any decisions with regard to her disability.
Firstly, Social Security considers End Stage Renal Disease to be a severe impairment, which could reasonably cause an individual to have significant limitations. In fact, an individual that has to have chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis due to irreversible kidney failure is an automatic approval for Social Security disability.
Additionally, an individual who has had a kidney transplant is an automatic approval for disability for at least twelve months.
After twelve months, Social Security will review the individual’s disability claim to ascertain if the individual has had medical improvement. Medical improvement depends upon various factors such as post transplant renal function, the occurrence and severity of renal infections, rejection crisis, or incidence of systemic complications (anemia, neuropathy, etc.), or even the side effects of medication such as corticosteriods and immune suppressant medications. Consequently, many individuals who have kidney transplants continue to receive disability benefits.
Secondly, how does Social Security view a return to substantial gainful work activity within the first twelve months of disability? If an individual returns to work and their earnings exceed the substantial gainful activity amount (each year Social Security sets a monthly amount that is considered to be substantial work activity), they may have their disability approval reopened to a denial based upon their work activity. If their disability claim were reopened and denied, the individual would have to return any benefits that they received.
In this case, she should contact Social Security for an explanation of how her return to work could affect potential Medicare entitlement. Generally, Social Security will take a disability claim and an End Stage Renal Disease Medicare claim at the same time if an individual is not working. There are special rules that apply to Medicare based upon End Stage Renal Disease. It would be advisable for her to contact Social Security prior to returning to work, so that she can make an informed decision.
In conclusion, this individual would have no problem being approved for disability provided that she continues to need dialysis or has some post kidney transplant complications that preclude her from continuing work at a substantial level.
However, before returning to work, I would suggest that she contact Social Security for more information about work and potential Medicare entitlement.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
The SSI Disability Benefits Program
Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs
Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews
Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
The SSDRC Disability Blog
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
Getting disability in North Carolina
Will You Be Denied For Disability If Your Records Indicate You Can Return To Work?
Can’t Work In My Old Job, How Does Social Security Disability Consider This?
Are You Allowed to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability or SSI?
Will Social Security deny my disability claim if I am working?
How does Social Security Disability decide that you cannot work?
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits
Disability qualifications - Who will qualify is based on functional limitations
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
How to file for disability and the information needed by Social Security
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? Part I
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
How long does it take to get disability?
Filing and applying for disability in Texas