Diseases of the kidney and urinary tract rank 12th among the causes of death and 17th among causes of disability worldwide. In the United States, Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD, a genitourinary disease, affects about 11 per cent of the adult population, approximately 19.8 million people.
If you are among the millions of Americans who suffer from a debilitating genitourinary disease, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What Criteria Does the Social Security Administration Use to Evaluate Genitourinary Conditions?
You are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits if you:
- Have a disability that prevents you from working at your regular job or an alternative job.
- Are able to show that you have not been able to work for the last 12 months, or will be unable to work for the next 12 months because of the disability.
- Have earned a certain number of work credits during employment.
To be eligible for SSI, claimants need to show financial need.
What Documents Do I Need to Submit?
The SSA considers genitourinary disorders that culminate in Chronic Kidney Disease. Evidence of this is determined through:
- Treatment records
- Clinical examinations
- Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)
- Kidney or bone biopsy pathology report
- Lab findings like serum creatinine or serum albumin levels
- Documentation of treatments undertaken and your response to treatment
It is important to remember that the SSA usually requires you to submit recent reports, not more than 90 days.
What Kind of Genitourinary Conditions Are Listed in the Blue Book?
Section 6 of the Blue Book lists a number of genitourinary disorders that result in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Examples are:
Chronic Glomerulonephritis: Glomerulonephritis refers to diseases that damage the glomeruli which filter blood in the kidney. The chronic form of the disease develops slowly over time and usually results in complete kidney failure.
Hypertensive Nephropathy: This CKD is a result of damaged blood vessels due to an increase in blood pressure. There are two types: benign and malignant. While benign is found in many individuals above 60, malignant is likely to be found in only 1-5% of people with hypertension.
Chronic obstructive Uropathy: This occurs when the flow of urine is blocked causing injury to one or both kidneys. Bladder kidney stones, colon cancer, cervical cancer, and uterine cancer are some causes. More permanent damage can occur if the blockage has been around for a long time.
Hereditary Nephropathies: An example of this type of CKD is Alport’s syndrome in which blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, and is usually accompanied by loss of hearing and eye problems. It is a hereditary disease caused by genetic mutations to collagen.
In addition to any one of these chronic kidney diseases, a claimant also needs to have:
- Ongoing chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis which has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
- Kidney transplant: Under 6.04, a kidney transplant categorizes you as disabled for one year from the date of your transplant.
- Impairment of kidney function: Serum creatinine levels of 4 mg/dL or greater; creatinine clearance of 20 ml/min. or less; and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 20 ml/min/1.73m2 or less along with:
- Renal osteodystrophy
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Fluid overload syndrome
- Anorexia gauged by body mass index (BMI) of 18.0 or less
- Complications of chronic kidney disease: Three hospitalizations, at least 30 days apart, within a period of one year. Each must have lasted a minimum of 48 hours in a hospital emergency department prior to being hospitalized.
Nephrotic syndrome due to glomerular dysfunction is also considered under Section 6 of the Blue Book and must have lasted for at least three months in spite of treatment and be accompanied by anasarca, extreme generalized edema.
What Happens When Your Genitourinary Condition Is Not Listed in the Blue Book?
The disorders mentioned in Section 6 are ones that are serious enough to automatically qualify for SSDI benefits. In cases where impairments are not listed, the SSA considers if a claimant has an impairment that meets the criteria of another body system, or determines if your condition is medically equivalent to a listing. The SSA will conduct a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test to determine whether you can perform work-related tasks. If the examiner finds you are not able to engage in any employment that would earn you a substantial gainful income, you will be approved to receive SSDI benefits through a medical vocational allowance.
Is There a Fast-Track Process to Receive SSDI Benefits?
If your condition is severe and clearly meets the SSA disability criteria, the SSA takes steps to accelerate the process and start your benefits as soon as possible under the Compassionate Allowance (CAL) program. You don’t need to apply separately; just submit the SSDI forms and the SSA will narrow in on severe cases that need immediate attention.
How Can I Apply for SSDI Benefits Today?
If you are suffering from a genitourinary disease that has kept you from work for a year or more, or will affect your employment in the future, then you could be eligible for SSDI benefits. It only takes a few moments to fill out our free disability evaluation form to find out whether you’re eligible.
The next step is to begin the application process. Remember that you can still apply for SSDI benefits even if you have a genitourinary disease that may not be listed in the Blue Book. At Disability United, our advocates help you through the process of collecting medical evidence, answering your questions at every step and increasing your chances of claim approval.
Call us now or request for a free disability evaluation to bring you one step closer to receiving the benefits you deserve.