There are more than 600,000 people in the US living with kidney disease. If you have kidney disease or if you need a kidney transplant and can’t work, you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Disability benefits can provide money that can be used to pay for living expenses like housing or a mortgage, food, and other necessities so that you don’t have to worry about making ends meet while you are sick and can’t work. The only requirement that you have to meet in order to file a claim for Social Security disability benefits is that you expect to be unable to work for at least a year.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Kidney Disease

If you have a kidney transplant, you will automatically be approved for disability benefits for one year from the transplant date. After that you will need to medically qualify each year to have your benefits renewed. If you have kidney disease but have not had a transplant in order to be approved for disability benefits, you will need to meet the criteria listed for kidney disease in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book.

The Blue Book has a few different listings for kidney disease, each with different requirements. If you have Chronic Kidney disease, in order to be approved for benefits:

You must undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant

OR

Your serum creatinine levels from a three-month period are:

    • Above 4 mg per deciliter

OR

    • At a clearance level of 20 ml or lower per minute

AND

    • You experience at least one of the following complications:
      • Renal osteodystrophy
      • Motor or sensory nephropathy
      • Chronic fluid overload syndrome, accompanied by diastolic hypertension, vascular congestion, or anorexia

If you have Nephrotic Syndrome you must:

  • Consistently have serum albumin of 3.0 per deciliter or lower AND elevated proteinuria of 3.5 g or higher over a 24-hour period

OR

  • Proteinuria measurements over a 24-hour period of 10 g or higher AND a total-protein-to-creatinine ratio of 3.5 or higher
  • Chronic Kidney Disease with Complications, which appears in Section 6.09 and requires:
  • you have been hospitalized at least three times within 12 months, with no more than 30 days in between hospital admissions

AND

  • each hospital stay started in the ER and resulted in inpatient treatment of at least 48 hours.

You will need to provide medical documentation to back up your claim. Medical documentation can be a doctor’s diagnosis, test results, hospital bills, statements from caseworkers, and basically any piece of documentation proving your illness and showing that it’s made it impossible for you to work.

Starting the Application Process

The first step in the application process is to start gathering your medical documentation. You can start your application for benefits online while you gather your documentation. Or, if you need help filling out the application or have questions about it, you can make an appointment at your local Social Security Administration office. Bring all of the paperwork that you have and all of your questions to the appointment and a staff member can help you with your claim for disability benefits.

Resources:

Dialysis Patient Citizens: https://www.dialysispatients.org

Kidney Disease and Social Security Disability Benefits: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/kidney-disease-and-social-security-disability

SSA’s Blue Book: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm

Important Medical Documentation: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/blog/medical-evidence

Local SSA Office: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp