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Evaluating a kidney disorder for Social Security Disability

March was Kidney Month so it is natural to consider whether kidney-related diseases can qualify a person to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Although many people think of disability benefits as existing primarily to aid those who suffer a disability from an injury or those who were always disabled, it is also possible -- and common -- to get Social Security Disability for illness, including diseases of the kidney.

The Social Security's Blue Book is the catalog of impairments that can qualify a person for SSD benefits. Section 6.00 specifically discusses genitourinary disorders in adults, providing specific listings for what kinds of kidney disorders are recognized as a disability and what evidence must be shown to establish that an applicant suffers from the particular disability. Among the specific disorders included in Section 6.00 are chronic kidney disease with dialysis, chronic kidney disease with a kidney transplant, chronic kidney disease with impairment of kidney function, nephrotic syndrome, and complications of chronic kidney disease.

In general, all disorders classified as genitourinary disorders and causing kidney disease are evaluated against the broad categorical listings in Section 6.00. This means that there are many other kidney disorders that may not be specifically named in Section 6.00 but that are nevertheless recognized as a disability-causing condition under this section.

There are three primary types of evidence that an applicant should present with his or her application for SSD benefits in relation to kidney disease, if the particular evidence exists in his or her case. First and foremost is specific evidence describing the symptoms and signs of an applicant's particular kidney disease, as well as laboratory findings. Medical records relating to exams, treatment, and a person's response to any treatment will be required and examined in detail. The two other kinds of evidence required to evaluate eligibility for a kidney disorder are an estimate of how well the kidneys filter (the estimated glomerular filtration rate) and the pathology report from a kidney or bone biopsy.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security: 6.00 Genitourinary Disorders - Adult," accessed April 7, 2015

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