Can I get Social Security Disability if I have Anemia?
Anemia is a condition that occurs when your blood does not have enough red blood cells. If your body isn't getting enough oxygen, you may fatigue easily, feel tired, experience shortness of breath, or have a general feeling of not being well. Over a period of time, anemia can also lead to worsening of heart problems.
Is Anemia a Disability?
Those who lose red blood cells quickly may show significant impairments. Not everyone has the same symptoms but if you experience significant limitations, you may be able to file a social security disability claim. Those with pre-existing heart problems, are most at risk as anemia could make their condition worse. The severity of the anemia and whether treatment will work are important in determining whether anemia is disabling. For example, severely low hemoglobin levels requiring frequent blood transfusions rises to the level of a disability.
Types of Anemia
There are three main types of anemia: anemia due to blood loss, anemia due to decreased red blood cell production, and anemia due to the destruction of red blood cells AKA hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia, such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia, is analyzed under its own Social Security Listing. You should consult with an attorney to explain this listing and whether you meet the criteria of this listing. If you do meet the criteria, you could be found to be disabled. Another anemia, called Pernicious anemia can cause spinal cord degeneration and can be analyzed as a spinal cord disorder. Aplastic anemia is analyzed as a bone marrow disorder.
Anemia Disability Listing
Social Security has whats called disability listings for a range of serious conditions,. If you meet the strict requirements of a listing, you'll be automatically approved for disability benefits. The main listing to look at is listing 7.18 adult blood disorder. These are for those applicants that experience repeated complications of hematological disorders. Severe, chronic anemia can qualify under this listing if it causes significant problems such as pain, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue, AND if it results in a severe limitation in one of the following: activities of daily living, social functioning, or ability to finish tasks in a timely manner. Having documentation of low hemoglobin levels/low hematocrit is vital in order to show that the symptoms and limitations required by the listing have a physiological cause. In addition, evidence of frequent blood transfusions also helps to show the severity of the condition.
Ability to Return to Work
Even if you don't meet the requirements of listing 7.18, you may still be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove that you are unable to work due to reduced physical functioning. Anemia can cause fatigue, lack of endurance, and shortness of breath. So any jobs that require walking and lifting may not be possible for individuals with anemia. Also, underlying health conditions that led to anemia, such as heart problems, may also prevent an individual from working a physical job.