Facts about The Epstein-Barr Virus 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) It is estimated that almost 95 percent of all American adults between the ages of 35 and 40 have been infected with Epstein-Barr virus, a herpes virus also known as EBV or HHV-4, at some point in their lives. It is one of the most common human viruses and can occur at any age, though many cases happen in infancy and childhood.

    2) When an infant or child develops EBV it is usually impossible to differentiate the virus from other childhood illnesses.

    3) When EBV does not occur until later in life, such as young adulthood or adolescence, it is accompanied by mononucleosis in nearly half of all cases. In fact, most doctors use the two conditions interchangeably.

    4) Two rare cancers, Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma, may occur late in life and are linked to EBV, though it has not been established that EBV is the single cause of these cancers.

    5) The virus may not be spread through blood, and is not air-borne. Transmission of EBV must be through saliva, and is most often spread through the intimate contact of kissing. It can also be spread through the sharing of toothbrushes, eating utensils, drinking glasses, or simply touching something that has the saliva from an infected person on it.

    6) Symptoms of the Epstein-Barr virus are fatigue, malaise, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and a high fever. Sometimes eye pain, rash, liver infection or a swollen spleen will also be present.

    7) Although the symptoms of EBV are usually gone within a month or two, the virus can be found in the infected person's blood cells and the cells of their throat for a lifetime. EBV is a permanent, inactive illness; once it is contracted it will remain for a lifetime, and although it may be dormant, it may also reactivate, but usually without any symptoms.

    8) In most cases EBV, treatment is bed rest and drinking a lot of water. EBV is a viral infection which does not respond to antibiotics.

    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.

    Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

    Social Security Disability in North Carolina

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Tips to Prepare for Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI

    Advice to Win SSD and SSI Benefit Claims

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions

    What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

    How to get disability for depression

    Getting disability for fibromyalgia

    SSI disability for children with ADHD

    What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

    Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

    What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

    Related Body System Impairments:

    Epstein-Barr Virus and Filing for Disability
    Graves Disease and Filing for Disability
    Hashimoto's Disease and Filing for Disability
    Histiocytosis and Filing for Disability
    Lyme disease and Filing for Disability
    Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Filing for Disability
    Sjogren's Syndrome and Filing for Disability
    If you apply for disability in Kentucky
    Disability Lawyer Kentucky