Hematological disorders are blood diseases and conditions. Your blood plays the vital role of carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and when it is unable to fulfill those functions, you may be unable to fulfill responsibilities of a job, such as remaining active for an entire workday, or putting in the level of effort and attention your job requires. Hematological disorders may also be life-threatening.
Because your blood is a pervasive element in your body, blood disorders may have secondary effects that may end up being the actual justification for disability benefits, even if they are actually caused by your blood condition.
Disability due to anemia is determined by a functional loss, not by the extent of your physiological measurement of loss of red blood cell mass. To qualify for disability due to anemia, you have to show that you have needed at least two blood transfusions over a period of three months and that you will continue to need blood transfusions every one or two months.
Sickle Cell Disease
This includes many different forms of sickle cell anemia and related disorders that affect the ability of your blood to carry oxygen. To show disability, you have to show evidence of:
- Painful crises occurring at least three time during the 5 months before your application
- Extended hospitalization at least three time during the 12 months before adjudication. This cannot just be attendance in the emergency room—you have to be admitted to the hospital.
- Chronic, severe anemia
- Impairment due to effects on other body systems, including:
- Meningitis (swelling of the membrane around the bread or spine)
- Pulmonary (lung) infections or infarction (tissue death caused by oxygen starvation)
- Damage or injury to the brain due to vascular events
- Congestive heart failure
- Genitourinary involvement
These have to be documented over a period of at least three months and confirmed in at least two different exams.
Thrombocytopenia refers to a lack of blood platelets, which allow your blood to clot to prevent blood loss. It is confirmed by measurements of the platelet count in your blood, and must be accompanied by at least one spontaneous hemorrhage requiring transfusion within 5 months before your application being considered or intracranial bleeding within 12 months of your application being considered.
Also called Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, this condition should not be confused with spider veins, which are also called telangiectasia. In Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, these small blood vessels can form anywhere in the body, and they can lead to major bleeding events. To qualify for disability you have to have had at least three hemorrhages that required blood transfusions in the three months prior to your application being considered.
Coagulation Defects (Such as Hemophilia)
These blood disorders prevent your blood from coagulating when you have a cut, causing you to hemorrhage spontaneously. You must have three such events requiring blood transfusions in the five months prior to your application being considered.
Polycythemia vera is when your bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, which may also reduce the types of other blood cells your body is producing. The main effect of this condition is to thicken your blood, which can cause damage to other body systems. Adverse blood clots, enlarged spleen, stomach ulcers, and inflammation in your joints (gout) may all lead to disability.
Myelofibrosis is a disorder in your bone marrow that may affect your body’s ability to produce blood cells. It may be associated with:
- Chronic anemia
- Recurrent systemic bacterial infections
- Intractable bone pain
Anemia must be documented according to that disorder’s standards. Bacterial infections must recur at least three times in the five months before your application is considered. Bone pain must be accompanied by x-ray evidence that you have bone scarring.
Granulocytopenia is a lack of certain white blood cells that help your body fight infections. Disability is determined by your blood cell counts and by systemic infections occurring at least three times in the five months prior to your application being considered.
Aplastic Anemias with Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplants
You are automatically considered disabled for 12 months after bone marrow or stem cell transplants, at which point your condition will be reevaluated.
If you think you might qualify for disability due to a blood disorder, please contact us for a free eligibility evaluation.
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