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Can a blood disorder qualify for Social Security Disability?

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Most folks file for Social Security Disability because they are physically unable to work. But for some, it's not the work that poses a threat, but the risk of blood clots or unstoppable bleeding.

People who suffer from coagulation and bleeding disorders often live in fear of nicks and cuts. The Social Security Administration allows a person living with chronic blood clots (thrombosis), interrupted circulation, excessive blood clotting, or uncontrollable bleeding disorders to collect disability benefits depending on:

The disorder. Many hereditary clotting disorders can be considered for disability benefits-most commonly hemophilia and thrombocytopenia. In addition to these, Social Security will also allow benefits for certain acquired clotting disorders, such as those caused by blood protein defects or inhibitor autoantibodies. See below for examples.

The diagnosis. Social Security usually accepts a blood clotting disorder diagnosis based on the assessment of a patient's plasma clotting-factor proteins (factors) and platelets. The type of hypercoagulation disorder (such as protein C or protein S deficiency) will be used to determine your disability rating.

The length of hospitalization. A patient's disorder must be severe enough to cause complications that require overnight hospital care. At least three hospitalizations within a 12-month period and occurring at least 30 days apart prior to adjudication. Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours, which can include hours in the hospital emergency department or comprehensive hemophilia treatment center immediately before the hospitalization.

Other blood disorders

What is Factor V Leiden? The factor V Leiden is a mutation of one of the clotting factors in the blood. The mutation by itself does not cause symptoms. Since factor V Leiden is a risk for developing blood clots in the leg or lungs, the first indication that you have the disorder may be the development of an abnormal blood clot.

Some clots do no damage and disappear on their own. Others can be life-threatening. Symptoms of a blood clot depend on what part of your body is affected.

A deep vein clot or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), most commonly occurs in the legs. A DVT may not cause any symptoms. If signs and symptoms do occur, they can include pain, swelling, redness and warmth.

What is Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome? Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome is a genetic disorder in males. It is an immunodeficiency disease that leads to susceptibility to infections (like vasculitis) and abnormal bleeding. This syndrome is characterized by three basic clinical features: increased tendency to bleed, recurrent bacterial, viral and fungal infections and Eczema of the skin. A diagnosis of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome should be considered in any boy who has unusual bleeding and bruises, congenital or early onset thrombocytopenia and small platelets. The characteristic platelet abnormalities including low numbers and small platelet size are almost always present, even in the cord blood of newborns. The simplest and most rapid test to determine if a patient may have WAS is to obtain a platelet count and to carefully determine the platelet size.

Social Security will look at the diagnosis and then determine if the blood condition is severe enough to prevent ordinary work on a regular and sustained basis. A "regular and continuing basis" means eight hours a day, for five days a week or an equivalent work schedule. The claimant must have both the mental and physical abilities to perform sustained work activities. When the evidence supports a finding that the claimant has had a substantial loss of ability to meet the demands of basic work-related activities on a sustained basis, the unskilled sedentary occupational base is significantly eroded, and a finding of disability is justified under the Social Security Rules.

An Accredited Disability Representative with more than 20 years experience, Diana Wade believes her clientele can be comfortable knowing that she is recognized by SSA and a charter member of NADR. To contact Ms. Wade call (661) 821-0494, email [email protected] or visit CaliforniaDisability.net.