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Hepatitis C can become disabling, lead to SSDI benefits

As the baby boom generation passes through different phases in Wisconsin and elsewhere, it creates a bulge that is difficult to ignore. When the boomers were young, schools were built by the millions. Many were either torn down or repurposed after the boomers passed through them.

Today, another issue related to baby boomers is expected to impact the number of people applying for Social Security disability benefits due to an illness. According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 2 million baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C, and many are unaware of it. Hepatitis C can lead to a number of issues, including some that would be considered disabling.

The Social Security Administration has a list of disabling conditions, under which some of the hepatitis C side effects may fall. One of them is chronic liver disease and live failure. Over time hepatitis C can cause the following conditions which the SSA considers disabling:

  • Hepatic encephalopathy which is a decrease in brain function caused when the liver can no longer remove toxins
  • Scarring of the liver which leads to cirrhosis
  • Chronic liver disease

According to the SSA listing, chronic liver disease with, "hemorrhaging from esophageal, gastric, or ectopic varices or from portal hypertensive gastropathy, demonstrated by endoscopy, x-ray, or other appropriate medically acceptable imaging, resulting in hemodynamic instability as defined in 5.00D5, and requiring hospitalization for transfusion of at least 2 units of blood" is considered eligible for benefits.

There is no cure for a hepatitis C infection. There is only treatment for the symptoms, which worsen over time.

For those who may be infected with the hepatitis C virus, a qualified legal professional can help in the application or appeals process for Social Security disability benefits.

Source: Beaumont Enterprise, "Incidence of Hepatitis C to Rise Among Baby Boomers; Disease Can Lead to Severe Disability," Aug. 24, 2012

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