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Understanding HIV and SSDI qualifying conditions

There are some illnesses and diseases which can cause a disability in their later stages and not in their earlier stages, or if important medical complications are lacking. Diabetes is an example of an illness which can be successfully managed, but can also lead to amputations, blindness and even death.

A diagnosis of HIV is a similar. Testing positive for HIV is not enough in itself to qualify for Social Security disability benefits due to the illness. However the cancers and other conditions which can result from AIDS can qualify one for SSDI benefits.

If we can assume that people do not wish to become disabled due to HIV and AIDS, the medical community recommends early testing. The World Health Organization recommends early testing for the following reasons:

  • HIV positive people can benefit from therapies for a longer period of health
  • Infection protection for the partners of HIV positive people
  • Stop the spread of HIV

According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, there are approximately 1.2 million people in America who are living with HIV in various states of health or illness. Of that number, approximately 240,000 do not know they are infected.

It is possible to live a long time with HIV and without becoming disabled. Ex-basketball player Magic Johnson is the most famous example of living with HIV. Disability can occur however due to the onset of HIV/AIDS complications.

The Social Security listing of disabling conditions classifies HIV/AIDS as an immune system disorder with the following types of qualifying conditions:

  • Bacterial infections including mycobacterial infection, nocardiosis and others
  • Fungal infections including aspergillosis, candidiasis involving certain organs, coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, mucormycosis and certain types of pneumonia
  • Protozoan or helminthic infections
  • Specific types of viral infections
  • Malignant neoplasms such as carcinoma of the cervix, Kaposi's sarcoma with certain conditions, lymphoma and some squamous cell carcinomas
  • Specific conditions of the skin or mucous membranes
  • HIV encephalopathy
  • HIV wasting syndrome
  • Diarrhea lasting for one month or longer that is resistant to treatment

There are other HIV/AIDS related conditions that qualify. For a complete understanding of the HIV conditions which would qualify one for SSDI benefits, it would be a wise idea to consult with a legal professional experienced with such matters.

Source: Yahoo! News, "HIV Testing Is Key To Early Detection," Nov. 26, 2012

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