Facts about Anemia and Filing for Disability

These selected pages answer some of the most basic, but also some of the most important, questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim for disability benefits.

  • How to apply for disability and the information that Social Security needs

  • Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on

  • Requirements for disability - Qualifications Criteria for SSD and SSI

  • How to Prove you are disabled and win your disability benefits

  • Facts about the condition

    1) Anemia is when a person has less hemoglobin in the blood than normal, or less red blood cells. In some cases, anemia can be caused by a lack of oxygen being carried to the body tissues. There are several different types of anemia, which may be short-term or long-term. It is the most common blood disorder.

    2) Although there are different types of anemia with different symptoms and treatments, some of the most common signs are: pale skin, headache, cold feet, cold hands, being very tired and run down, chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.

    3) There are quite a few different types of anemia. Although vitamin deficiency anemia, such as iron deficiency anemia or anemia caused by a lack of vitamin B-13 or folate, are the most common types there are also many other anemias, such as aplastic anemia, fanconi anemia, hemolytic anemias, sickle cell anemia, anemia of chronic disease, anemias associated with bone marrow disease, warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia, cold agglutinin hemolytic anemia, and anemia or pregnancy, to name a few.

    4) These are many factors that can cause anemia, but some of the most common risk factors are being a woman (due to pregnancy and menstruation), eating a diet poor in vitamins and minerals such as iron and folate, having intestinal disorders, being an alcoholic, having a family history of anemia, and having chronic conditions. Being a vegetarian can also increase your risk, unless you make sure to get enough vitamin B.

    5) Anemia can become severe if left untreated and may cause many complications, from nerve damage, impaired mental abilities and heart problems such as arrhythmia and congestive heart failure, to fatigue so severe you are incapacitated and even death.

    6) To combat and prevent the most common type of anemia ' vitamin deficiency anemia and iron deficiency anemia ' eat a diet rich in beef, dark leafy green and other protein-based foods such as nuts and beans (iron), citrus fruits, bananas and berries (vitamin C and folate) and meat and dairy (vitamin B12).

    Qualifying for disability benefits with this condition

    Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records.

    This includes whatever statements and treatment notes that may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis). It also includes discharge summaries from hospital stays, reports of imaging studies (such as xrays, MRIs, and CT scans) and lab panels (i.e. bloodwork) as well as reports from physical therapy.

    In many disability claims, it may also include the results of a report issued by an independent physician who examines you at the request of the Social Security Administration.

    Qualifying for SSD or SSI benefits will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. In the case of adults, your work history information will allow a disability examiner (examiners make decisions at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels, but not at the hearing level where a judges decides the outcome of the case) to A) classify your past work, B) determine the physical and mental demands of your past work, C) decide if you can go back to a past job, and D) whether or not you have the ability to switch to some type of other work.

    The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

    Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

    There are several reasons but here are just two:

    1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant's disability attorney or disability representative will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge.

    Note: it is not enough for a doctor to simply state that their patient is disabled. To satisy Social Security's requirements, the physician must list in what ways and to what extent the individual is functionally limited. For this reason, many representatives and attorneys request that the physician fill out and sign a specialized medical source statement that captures the correct information. Solid Supporting statements from physicians easily make the difference between winning or losing a disability case at the hearing level.

    2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. This is because at the initial levels of the disability system, a disability examiner decides the case without meeting the claimant. The examiner may contact the claimant to gather information on activities of daily living and with regard to medical treatment or past jobs, but usually nothing more. At the hearing level, however, presenting an argument for approval based on medical evidence that has been obtained and submitted is exactly what happens.

    About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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