Organ Transplants and Social Security Disability Insurance
Here is an explanation of Social Security's five-step process to determine if an organ transplant patient qualifies for SSDI:
1. Determine if an individual is "working (engaging in substantial gainful activity)" according to the SSA definition. Earning more than $1,040 a month as an employee is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits.
2. Conclude the organ transplant disability must be severe enough to significantly limit one's ability to perform basic work activities needed to do most jobs. For example:
- Walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling
- Seeing, hearing and speaking
- Understanding/carrying out and remembering simple instructions
- Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations
- Dealing with changes in a routine work setting
3. Organ transplants are placed in four categories of impairments known as Respiratory System, Cardiovascular System, Digestive System and Genito-Urinary System. An individual who has a lung transplant is considered to be under a disability for 12 months following the date of surgery. Thereafter, an individual is evaluated on residuals such as breathing capacity. An individual who has cardiac transplantation is considered to be disabled for one year following surgery. Thereafter, the individual is evaluated on heart function. An individual who undergoes a liver transplant is considered to be under a disability for 12 months following the date of surgery. Thereafter, the individual is evaluated on any residual impairment. An individual who undergoes kidney transplantation is considered under a disability for 12 months following surgery. Thereafter, the individual is evaluated on kidney function.
4. Explore the ability of an individual to perform work they have done in the past despite their organ transplant. If the SSA finds that a person can do his past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step.
5. Review age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. To determine organ transplant disability, the SSA enlists medical-vocational rules, which vary according to age.
For example, if a person is:
Under age 50 and, as a result of the symptoms, or need of, an organ transplant, unable to perform what the SSA calls sedentary work, then the SSA will reach a determination of disabled. Sedentary work requires the ability to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at a time, sit six hours and occasionally walk and stand two hours per eight-hour day.
Age 50 or older and, due to the organ transplant, limited to performing sedentary work, but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Age 55 or older and, due to the disability, limited to performing light work, but has no work-related skills that allow him to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Over age 60 and, due to the organ transplant, unable to perform any of the jobs he performed in the last 15 years, the SSA will likely reach a determination of disabled.
Any age and, because of organ transplants, has a psychological impairment that prevents even simple, unskilled work, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Request a no-cost, no obligation disability evaluation to determine your eligibility for Social Security disability.