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Social Security Disability and Kidney Disease

By June 24, 2021November 8th, 20233 min read

In past articles, we have discussed that the clearest path to determining eligibility for disability benefits through Social Security Administration (SSA) is to meet SSA’s Blue Book listing for your condition. If you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, you can find the Blue Book listing under Genitourinary Disorders.

To meet the listing for kidney disease, one of the following must be true for you: 1) you have chronic kidney disease and require dialysis; 2) you have chronic kidney disease and underwent a kidney transplant within the last twelve months; 3) you have nephrotic syndrome (protein is lost in urine) that shows in testing twice within a twelve-month period, is 90 days apart, and features skin swelling for at least 90 days; 4) you have chronic kidney disease, and, as a result, you’ve been hospitalized at least three times in the last year, lasting 48 hours and occurring 30 days apart; and/or 5) you have chronic kidney disease and reduced kidney function and peripheral neuropathy, fluid overload syndrome, anorexia, and/or renal osteodystrophy.

Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disease that causes numbness, pain, muscle weakness, and tingling because of toxins your kidneys couldn’t filter out of your body. Fluid overload syndrome is caused when your body retains salt and water and causes abnormally large blood vessels, skin swelling, high blood pressure, or extreme weight loss. With respect to kidney disease, anorexia is weight loss determined by a body mass index (BMI) of 18.0 or less, as calculated twice in one year, 90 days apart. Lastly, renal osteodystrophy is a bone disease with severe bone abnormalities and pain caused when your kidneys fail.

As we have also discussed, your inability to meet the listing for kidney disease does not mean you cannot qualify for disability benefits through SSA due to your physical disability. In that case, SSA will utilize a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) exam. This exam is a questionnaire that determines your ability to lift weight, walk, stand, sit, and perform daily activities. If you cannot even work a sedentary job because of your kidney disease, you will likely qualify for benefits.

Two types of kidney disease fall on the Compassionate Allowance list to expedite claim reviews. If you have been diagnosed with either Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis or Heptorenal Syndrome, you can expect an initial decision within 1-2 months rather than the usual 4-5.

To present the best case for yourself, work closely with your treating physicians. Be sure to provide SSA with copies of all test results, lab reports, summaries of your treatments and outcomes, descriptions of surgeries, and routine office visit notes. And consider speaking to an experienced Social Security disability attorney who can guide you through the complication application process.