Kidney Disease: How to Qualify for Social Security Disability

When the kidneys become damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in the body causing swelling in your ankles, vomiting, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, diseased kidneys may eventually stop functioning completely. Loss of kidney function is a serious — and potentially fatal — condition. Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Diabetes (types 1 and 2) and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD. Chronic kidney disease is classified in five stages, with stage 1 being the mildest and usually causing few symptoms and stage 5 being a severe illness with poor life expectancy if untreated. Stage 5 CKD is often called end-stage renal disease, end stage renal failure, or end-stage kidney disease, and is synonymous with the now outdated terms chronic kidney failure or chronic renal failure.

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The Social Security Administration has an impairments listing manual (called the blue book) which includes an official disability listing for Kidney Disease. Social Security evaluates kidney failure under its disability listings for “genitourinary” impairments (6.03-6.06, 6.09). The listings include specific criteria to be present:

  • Need for regular dialysis
  • Completion of a kidney transplant (disability for 1 year following transplant)
  • Reduced glomerular filtration combined with symptoms of damage
  • Nephrotic syndrome, or
  • Serious complications of kidney disease.

If your condition is not severe enough to meet the requirements of the listing, you may still qualify for disability benefits. Some Claimants suffer from bone pain, fatigue due to anemia, shortness of breath, or swelling of the knees or feet. The symptoms may be of such magnitude that there are no jobs you can do, or at least no jobs that you know how to do, given your age, education, and experience.

Premier Disability Services, LLC has extensive experience assisting claimants who suffer from Kidney Disease obtain Social Security Disability benefits.  If you suffer from Kidney Disease and you are unable to work, please contact our office for a free evaluation.