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How is chronic liver disease assessed for disability benefits?

Oklahomans who are suffering from chronic illnesses can have their entire lives affected by trying to mitigate the symptoms and get relief. Since these issues can prevent them from being able to hold a job, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be critical to making ends meet and getting medical care as they try to survive and improve their condition. Chronic liver disease can be debilitating and warrant SSD benefits. Understanding how the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates it and what symptoms are present when it manifests is key.

Those with chronic liver disease can be characterized by a variety of issues, including inflammation, cell necrosis, fibrosis, cirrhosis and other problems that last for more than six months. Various medical conditions can come about, including hypertension and liver cancer. If there is a substantial loss of liver function, there can be hemorrhaging and more. The laboratory findings can indicate there is a progressive deterioration of the liver's function. For those with end stage liver disease, the only option is a transplant.

Symptoms of chronic liver disease might include the person feeling fatigued, itchy, losing appetite, experiencing trouble sleeping and other problems. Signs of liver disease could be jaundice, spleen and liver enlargement, an altered mental condition and peripheral fluid retention (edema). When tested by laboratories, the findings might show there was an increase in liver enzymes or ammonia levels, a reduction in platelet counts and certain factors that could raise the possibility of cirrhosis.

A liver biopsy could be needed to come to an accurate determination. The SSA will take reasonable steps to get the results of the biopsy, but it will not pay for it. Imaging tests could be needed to determine the liver's size and consistency as part of the diagnostic process.

Because liver disease can be so debilitating and cause extensive problems in a person's life, it is important to understand how to get SSD benefits when there is a diagnosis. Since these conditions and the laboratory tests can be difficult for a layperson to understand, once there is a diagnosed liver issue and the person is unable to work, it is important to have legal advice on how to get Social Security Disability benefits for illness.

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The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

414 NW 4th Street Suite 140
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Phone: 405-896-8852
Fax: 405-272-0367
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