HIV / AIDS
The Social Security Administration considers your ability to engage in any kind of work when it determines whether you are disabled under the Social Security Administration’s guidelines and regulations. A few conditions are so severe that you are presumed to be disabled if you meet certain guidelines, either under the “compassionate allowance”, which are extremely severe conditions, or if you meet certain “listings”. Most of the listings are very complex and require proof of several objectively verifiable conditions or findings. Both the compassionate allowances and the listings can be found on the Social Security web site.
The Social Security Administration considers the severity of symptoms you have and the impact of those symptoms on your ability to work, including the effect of opportunistic diseases, involuntary weight loss, the side effects of medications, and interactive and cumulative effects of your treatments. SSA defines HIV infection diagnosis in the listings as follows:
a. Definitive documentation of HIV infection. A definitive diagnosis of HIV infection is documented by one or more of the following laboratory tests:
(i) HIV antibody tests. HIV antibodies are usually first detected by an ELISA screening test performed on serum. Because the ELISA can yield false positive results, confirmation is required using a more definitive test, such as a Western blot or an immunofluorescence assay.
(ii) Positive “viral load” (VL) tests. These tests are normally used to quantitate the amount of the virus present but also document HIV infection. Such tests include the quantitative plasma HIV RNA, quantitative plasma HIV branched DNA, and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
(iii) HIV DNA detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
(iv) A specimen that contains HIV antigen (for example, serum specimen, lymphocyte culture, or cerebrospinal fluid).
(v) A positive viral culture for HIV from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
(vi) Other tests that are highly specific for detection of HIV and that are consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge.
b. Other acceptable documentation of HIV infection. We may also document HIV infection without the definitive laboratory evidence described in 14.00F1a, provided that such documentation is consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice and is consistent with the other evidence in your case record. If no definitive laboratory evidence is available, we may document HIV infection by the medical history, clinical and laboratory findings, and diagnosis(es) indicated in the medical evidence.
If you meet the definitions in the listing as to how disabling the condition is you may entitled to Social Security disability benefits. You may also be entitled to benefits if your condition medically equals a listing, or if it otherwise prevents you from being able to engage in substantial gainful activity.
We will be happy to discuss your condition and to evaluate your claim. Please click here to fill out our interactive contact form and we will get back to you promptly to discuss your Social Security disability claim, give you a free evaluation of your case, and let you know what we can do for you. You can also call us at (303) 996-0700.
Nothing contained on this web site should be construed to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. The relationship is only created by written agreement signed by the client and the law firm. Please contact us for a conference to further discuss your claim.