Facts about Liver Disease 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.

  • Applying for disability with hepatitis

  • How to file for disability for SSD and SSI

  • Am I eligible for disability?

  • How does a person qualify for disability

  • SSDI and SSI requirements

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

  • SSI Benefits - who is Eligible and How do I apply

  • Facts about the condition

    1) Liver disease is a blanket term used to cover a wide variety of diseases affecting the liver, from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatitis, to cirrhosis, Haemochromatosis, and many more. There are over 100 types of liver disease.

    2) There are many symptoms of liver disease, including jaundice, portal hypertension, ascites, liver enlargement, liver failure, cholestasis, and liver encephalopathy.

    3) Liver disease is also sometimes referred to as hepatic disease. The American Liver Foundation has stated that it is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in people aged 25-64.

    4) Itchy skin, bad breath, dark under-eye circles, a coated tongue, blemishes and rosacea can all be symptoms of a diseased liver, as can depression, sugar cravings, mood changes, anger, irritability, headaches, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, and more.

    5) The upper abdomen can also show a sign of liver disease ' a roll of fat known as the 'liver roll' may appear on this area of the body due to liver disease.

    6) Liver functions tests, liver biopsy, a computerized tomography scan (CT scan) and an ultrasound may all be used to help a doctor determine and diagnose liver disease.

    7) The most common liver tests used to determine liver disease are Albumin, Alpha-1 antitrypsin, AST, Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), ALP, ALT, Prothrombin time, Serum bilirubin and Urine bilirubin.

    8) According to the American Liver Foundation, one out of every ten Americans have liver disease and nearly 45,000 die of a liver disease each year.

    9) Those who share needles, drink alcohol, and have frequent, unprotected sex are at a high risk for liver disease, as are those who are exposed to bodily fluids, blood or toxins and chemicals.

    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:

    Alcoholism and Filing for Disability
    Celiac Disease and Filing for Disability
    Diverticulitis and Filing for Disability
    Enteritis and Filing for Disability
    Liver Disease and Filing for Disability
    Wilson's Disease and Filing for Disability
    Crohn's Disease and Filing for Disability
    Cirrhosis, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
    Hepatitis, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
    If you apply for disability in Virginia

    Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Virginia?

    Getting a Disability Lawyer in Virginia