Individuals who undergo a kidney transplant are considered disabled for 12 months after surgery. If you have kidney disease and know that you will have to undergo a transplant, contact a trusted Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible to help you with the application for benefits.
While it is likely that your condition made it difficult or impossible to work prior to the kidney transplant, the year after the transplant will be critical to your recovery, and the constant monitoring and lengthy recuperation process will likely make working after the transplant similarly impossible.
You may still qualify for disability benefits after the initial 12-month period is over following your transplant. At this point, Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates your disability on current kidney function. SSA will consider your ability to return to work you did in the past, despite your transplant disability, and if it finds that you can do past work, your continued disability benefits will be denied.
If SSA determines that you cannot do past work, it will look at your level of education, physical and mental conditions, and prior work experience to see if there is any other kind of work you can perform. It will use the vocational rules to assess your disability.
SSA will consider you disabled if you are under age 50 and, as a result of your symptoms or the kidney transplant, cannot perform sedentary work. Sedentary work requires that you be able to sit for 6 hours and occasionally walk, stand 2 hours, and lift a maximum of 10 pounds at a time during an 8-hour work day.
SSA will also consider you disabled if you are 50 or older and, due to your kidney transplant, are limited to performing sedentary work, but you do not have any work-related skills that allow you to do so.
If you are over 60, and, due to your kidney transplant, you cannot perform any of the jobs you worked in the 15 years prior to your transplant, SSA will likely determine that you are disabled and eligible for benefits.
Finally, SSA will consider you disabled at any age if, because of your kidney transplant, you have a psychological impairment that prevents you from working even an unskilled, simple job.
When SSA evaluates your disability after the first year following your kidney transplant, it will look to any residual impairments you experience. Residual impairments can include events like renal infection frequency, other systemic infections, side effects of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, kidney rejection episodes, neuropathy, and/or other organ system deterioration.