Social Security Disability & HIV

Living With HIV Blog

Applying for Social Security Disability with HIV


[box_info]From time to time, I recognize that informative articles like this guest post by Ram Meyyappan with Social Security Disability Help may deviate from my standard format, however, I agreed to allow this specific article, as some of us may need this information at some point. [/box_info]


Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help

HIV is a recognized disability for which you can potentially qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two programs for which you may qualify: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both require you meet the medical and technical/financial criteria for receiving benefits.


SSDI Benefit Eligibility Requirements

To technically qualify for SSDI, you must:

  • Prove you have a medically eligible disability
  • Be so severely limited by your HIV that you are unable to maintain gainful employment, which the SSA considers “substantial gainful activity” or SGA,
  • And have sufficient work credits built up from your previous employment.



SSI Benefit Eligibility Requirements

To meet the basic requirements for receiving SSI, you must:

  • Prove you have a medically eligible disability
  • And have very limited income and other financial resources available with which to support yourself.

For more information on the specific requirements and limits for SSDI and SSI, visit:



Qualifying Medically for SSD with HIV

To prove medical eligibility for disability benefits through either or both of the SSA’s programs, you must meet the listing for HIV in the Blue Book. This listing requires thorough documentation of the effects of your HIV as well as the treatment protocols that have been used in maintaining your condition and addressing complications that arise from it.

Specifically, your medical records must show at least one of the following:

  • Recurrent and severe bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or viral infections
  • The development of one or more forms of cancer specifically associated with HIV
  • Skin and/or mucous membrane involvement resulting in extensive fungal infections or ulcerated lesions that are resistant to treatment
  • Encephalopathy, with compromised cognitive abilities and motor function
  • HIV wasting syndrome
  • Persistent diarrhea that is resistant to treatment and which requires hospitalization, intravenous hydration or the placement of a feeding tube
  • Recurrent infections that require hospitalization three or more times a year, and which may include pneumonia, meningitis, endocarditis, sepsis, septic arthritis, or sinusitis

You can also meet the listing for HIV by your medical records documenting repeated periods of pronounced symptoms, even if they do not specifically meet the criteria listed above. Your medical records must prove that your symptoms or consistent and severe enough to severely limit:

  • Your ability to perform everyday activities, including those required for caring for yourself, maintaining your home, and for keeping a job, for example
  • Your ability to function in social situations or to maintain normal relationships
  • Your ability to complete tasks or participate in activities that require a consistent and reasonable pace and the ability to concentrate, including typical job functions

[box_help]For more information on applying for benefits with HIV, please visit: [/box_help]

Living With HIV Blog

Applying for Benefits

For the SSA to thoroughly evaluate your HIV and its effects on your daily life, you must present thorough medical records at the time you apply for benefits. You must also ensure that your medical documentation contains the details necessary for the SSA to establish an accurate severity level for the symptoms you suffer and for the everyday complications and limitations your HIV presents.

Submitting as many of your medical records as possible at the time you apply for benefits can potentially shorten your wait for a decision on your claim and can increase your chances of being approved without having to go through additional reviews or appeals. Having the assistance of a Social Security advocate or attorney can also increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision on your eligibility for benefits.

You can apply for benefits online at the SSA’s website ( or in person at your local SSA office. If applying in person, you must call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment. An online application can be initiated and filed at any time, though you will need to follow up by submitting your medical records to your local SSA office.

Be prepared to wait at least three months for a decision on your initial application. You should also be prepared to file for an appeal, if you are denied benefits. A second review may be required and you may need to proceed through an appeal hearing before receiving a final decision on your claim.


[box_alert] Please note, this article was published by request of the guest author.  Publishing this article in no way endorses this specific company selling services, or their products. In accordance with the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements, I am disclosing that this article is considered a content marketing article unrelated to  I did not receive compensation or consideration for posting this  article. Nor did I check its accuracy. [/box_alert]





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