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Social Security pays benefits to those disabled by HIV/AIDS

December 1 is World Aids Day. It is important to remember that despite improvements in treatment, HIV/AIDS is a lifelong illness that can prevent people from working or carrying on the activities of daily living. If you or someone you know cannot work because of HIV/AIDS, Social Security Disability (SSD) may be an option. This program pays monthly benefits to people who are unable to perform substantial gainful work because of illness or injury, and HIV/AIDS is included in the list of covered conditions.

Eligibility criteria

To receive disability benefits from Social Security, you must meet certain general eligibility criteria:

  • You must have been unable to work for 12 months or more, or be expected to be unable to work for that amount of time
  • You must have paid into Social Security for a certain number of quarters through your payroll taxes. The number varies depending on your age, but generally you must have worked five of the last 10 years

HIV/AIDS-related conditions

SSD will pay benefits if you are determined to be disabled and unable to work because of conditions commonly associated with HIV/AIDS, such as:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Protozoan infections
  • Viral infections
  • Malignant neoplasms
  • Conditions of the skin or mucus membrane
  • Hematologic abnormalities
  • Neurological abnormalities
  • HIV wasting syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Nephropathy
  • Other chronic infections requiring repeated treatment

In addition to qualifying for SSD because you have one or more of the physical problems listed here, you may also be eligible as a result of related mental and emotional disorders associated with HIV/AIDS.

Applying for SSD for HIV/AIDS is complex and requires significant documentation. People must present materials such as work histories, medical records and other documents proving eligibility. Many people seeking disability benefits turn to advocates like those at Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. We have helped many people disabled by serious conditions such as HIV/Aids. Find out how we can help you, too.

Sources: Paramus Post, "Social Security Helps People with HIV/AIDS," Nov. 15, 2012; National Association of Social Workers, "Social Security Benefits for People Living with HIV/AIDS."

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