Hemolytic anemia is a specific type of anemia that occurs when red blood cells die too quickly and before they can be replaced with new red blood cells. This condition can be caused by different medical conditions such as an infection, an immune disorder, or a reaction to a medication. Sometimes the cause is unknown. Regardless of the cause, however, the effects may be the same. If you have hemolytic anemia, you may suffer from:
- Significant fatigue
- Heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
- An enlarged heart
- Heart failure
Not all hemolytic anemias are the same. Some may be effectively treated and others may not respond to treatment and ultimately be fatal. Sometimes, acquired forms of hemolytic anemia may go away with treatment. However, inherited forms of hemolytic anemias are often lifelong conditions.
You may be unable to work and your condition may be permanently disabling.
And You May be Eligible for Social Security Disability
Hemolytic anemias are specifically listed as a disabling condition in Section 7.05 of the Listing of Impairments. According to this section, you are eligible for Social Security disability if you suffer from hemolytic anemia including sickle cell disease, thalassemia, or their variants, and one of the following is true:
- You have documented painful vaso-occlusive crises that require parenteral narcotic medication at least six times within a 12 month period and at least 30 days apart.
- You have complications of hemolytic anemia that require at least three hospitalizations within a 12 month period and that occur at least 30 days apart. Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours. This time may include time spent in a hospital emergency room or in a comprehensive sickle cell disease center immediately prior to the hospitalization. These hospitalizations do not all have to be for the same hemolytic anemia complication. Some example of hemolytic anemia complications include osteomyelitis, painful vaso-occlusive crisis, pulmonary infections or infarctions, acute chest syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, chronic heart failure, gallbladder disease, liver failure, kidney failure, nephrotic syndrome, aplastic crisis, and stroke.
- You have hemoglobin measurements of 7.0 grams per deciliter or less at least three times within a 12 month period with at least 30 days between each measurement. These measurements may be made while you are experiencing complications of hemolytic anemia. The measurements do not have to be taken when you are free of pain or other symptoms.
- You have beta thalassemia major that requires life-long red blood cell transfusions at least once every six weeks to maintain life. This is the most serious type of beta thalassemia major and the only treatments are red blood cell transfusions for the rest of your life or bone marrow transplantation. It the red blood cell transfusions are given to prevent stroke or other complications, they should not be considered under this section of the Blue Book. However, the functional limitations of these transfusions and the side effects may be considered under Section 7.18 of the Blue Book.
Even if you do not meet the specific requirements of Section 7.05 you may still be eligible for Social Security disability if you can prove that your disability is equal in severity to another listing in the Blue Book or if you can prove that you are unable to work because of your permanent and completely disabling condition.
How to Get Benefits If You Are Eligible for Social Security Disability
If you believe you meet the requirements for eligibility as described above, it is important to talk to a Social Security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Your eligibility is not automatic. Instead, you have to submit a convincing application to the Social Security Administration that clearly describes why you are eligible for benefits. This is harder to do than it sounds and the majority of initial applications are denied—often because of technicalities that could have been avoided.
A Social Security disability lawyer can help you submit a complete and accurate Social Security disability application so that you can get the benefits you deserve as quickly as possible. For more information, or to schedule a meeting with a board certified Social Security disability lawyer, please contact us through this website or by phone at any time.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.