Disability Benefits for Chronic Liver Disease


JusticeThe Social Security Administration (SSA) awards disability benefits for chronic liver disease, but the disease must be fairly severe to qualify for the benefits. Liver disease is not one disease but a category of diseases that includes cirrhosis, hepatitis C and B, sarcoidosis, autoimmune hepatitis, liver failure, alcoholic liver disease, liver cancer, and other liver diseases. Chronic liver disease has several causes ranging from alcohol and drug abuse to environmental toxins, viruses (forms of hepatitis), autoimmune disorders, and hereditary factors. Symptoms include fatigue, diarrhea, jaundice, abdominal swelling, and mental disorientation.

The staff at Kansas City-based Disability Professionals knows that to meet the requirements of the chronic liver disease listing, your doctor must have diagnosed you with either end-stage liver disease or chronic liver disease (chronic means lasting at least six months) and you must have one of the following complications:

  • excess fluid in the peritoneal cavity (called ascites) or the pleural cavity
  • spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
  • esophageal or gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • hepatorenal syndrome
  • hepatopulmonary syndrome, or
  • hepatic encephalopathy.

If you fail to meet these requirements, you will not be approved automatically for disability benefits, but the SSA may still award disability benefits if you have functional limitations that prevent you from working.

Functional Limitations of Liver Disease

The SSA will determine your "residual functional capacity" (RFC) to see whether there is any type of work you can still do given your functional limitations. Depending on your physical limitations, your RFC will have a sedentary, light, or medium work rating. Any mental limitations caused by your disease, such as an inability to focus or remember things, will also be taken into account. Your doctor’s report should include these limitations so that the SSA includes them in the RFC.

If the SSA decides you are unable to do your past work, the SSA will consider whether or not there is other work you can do based on your RFC rating and restrictions along with your age, job skills, and education level.

Getting Legal Help

If you or a loved one needs to pursue a disability claim or wishes to discuss claim eligibility, give Disability Professionals a call at 855-201-9569 or email Disability Professionals  to set up your appointment today.



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