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Does having Hep C considered a disability?
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Does having Hep C considered a disability?

Hi everyone, I am a recently diagnosed Hepster... I need to know if anyone has been found to be disabled due to Hep C? I have no insurance, I am a widow of one year, and I have an 11 year old son I am raising by myself. I do not have anyone to take care of him if something was to happen to me. I am scared and I am really not sure where to go from here. I do not have the money to get the rest of the test I need to tell me what genotype and stage my disease is in. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas as to how I can get some help. I also have an other problem, I had a hysterectomy on May 31, 2005. Right after the surgery, I started breaking out in my gential (genital) area, the doctor said it was just hair bumps from when they shaved me, but It has not gone away!!! I went to the ER for a CAT scan, and ended up getting blood work, this is when they diagnosed the Hep C. Well I figured kill to birds with one stone as they say. Right? Well, I ask the doctor to look at the bumps, (secretly scared he would say Herpies (herpes)), and he said well it definatly is not Herpies (herpes), it is just hair bumps! So I guess, the question is: Has anyone else had/have this issue? If so what is it, and how do I stop the ITCHING??? Sorry for the graphic question, but I am hoping someone can help me. Thanks for the Help, and Best of Luck to ALL....Diamond
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30678_tn?1217992847
Hep C by itself is not considered a disability, although some symptoms of the liver disease it causes may be. It is difficult even then to collect as many here will attest, every symptom every problem tell your Doc and document it. Until your symptoms cover encephelopathy, or something that causes you not to be able to work, no. Then your age plays a major part in collecting, they have diffent rules for ages 45-49 and 50-52 then after that it's pretty easy to get. They figure after 52 it's easier to pay than retrain.
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Avatar_m_tn
Welcome, sorry you are going through this but glad you found the forum.
ou will need to find a treating doctor but there is help available through patient assistance programs to supply the meds. The meds. are very expensive but the programs can supply them for free. Try to find a clinic or sliding scale facility you can manage so you have a doctor. One program is COmmitment to Care, their number is 800 521 7157. Another one is the Pegassist program, at Pegassist.com they are set up by the companies that make the treatment drugs. You have to have a treating doc first.
Hep C affects your immune system, it suppresses it so conditions like the one you describe can persist, I'd see a gyn and try to find out what is causing the situation. I know fungal and yeast infections can be a problem with Hep C.

Maybe someone can assist you with your disability questions, one thing I do know is it is a very long process and is not easy to qualify for it with Hep C but I have heard some people do get it eventually.
What genotype do you have? Have you had a biopsy?
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Avatar_f_tn
Not only is it almost impossible to GET disability but you would most definitely have to be under a doctors care to prove without a shadow of a doubt that you DID deserve to recieve it.

I was in a serious accident, broke my back and had a traumatic brain injury - all documented - and it still took me a LONG time and a TON of doctors and paperwork to receive it.

I haven't tried with Hep C because although this is a total pain of a disease and at times I have had to stay home from work (because I kept fainting from the anemia)...a doctor wouldn't ever say I was "incapable" of working because of the side effects.

Believe me if I could...I would stay home but treating for 72 weeks (on week 59 I think) I've worked all along except for 3 sick days.
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Avatar_n_tn
I rec've it SSD but only because of what the treatment brought
up. I'm 50, the treatment turned up; Hypothyroid, Hypoglcima, small nerve damage, short and long term brain fog, and a few others. Not easy to get. but its all good.
rent
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131817_tn?1209532911
I have had the same break outs you describe since starting tx and worse before on my legs. Actually it came back yesterday and is really annoying. I was thinking of going to a gyn myself. I have used T gel shampoo and it seems to help. I also get it in my armpits. I have also tried Lamisil cream with some success. It seems to come and go. You are the first person I have heard with this, I suppose no one really wants to talk about it. I haven't lol. Glad you posted about it and I am not the only one with this problem.
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96938_tn?1189803458
As a surviving widow, with child, are there some Social Security survivor benefits that you might access?
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86075_tn?1238118691
My best friend is a disability lawyer so he's told me oodles about this to help some of my friends out...it's not impossible to get dissabitity with this disease, there are plenty who have it with Hep C (because of the symptoms incurred, not just the hep c diagnoisis itself)...I've gone to hep c support groups where there were more than a few who were collecting SS from Hep C symptoms....

(Remember, these are just opinions we are giving you, none of us are experts, so take these as OPINIONS and not all of them are right or completely right).....youre talking important lifechanging events here, so I think it's important that people be very well versed on these issues before they make proclamations to newbies on these types of issues...no offense to anybody, but this is what I feel)

Are you talking disability from work? or are you not working now and want it from the government? these are two different questions...and they are answered a bit differently, I'll focus on SS because my friend is a SS lawyer and that's what I know about...

To get government dissability (SSI, or Social Security or both) would have to depend on a host of things...when was the last time you worked? things like that...how much your SS entitlement would be would have to depend oh how much you made while you were working, and how much you've made during your whole working career...

Whether or not youre granted it depends on a lot as well, we're talking about so many variables, each one specific to your case...SS does not grant disability for just having Hep C, they decide on it one way or another depending on how much you are "disabled" from whatever is ailing you...if they awarded it to anyone that is sick it would get bowled over, so you can see why that is, you have to do a lot to PROVE your being disabled...I know two women who got SS from just depression, but they kept dam good records, got letters from psychiatrists, etc...)

If youre pretty messed up physically (and mentally, with depression, etc), and can prove all this through doctor's letters and questionairres, this is what you'll have to bring to your hearing...some people feel they know enough and are messed up enough to try and be their own advodcate, but many who try to do this end up getting rejected on their first hearing, then the second, and so on...and those hearing are a year apart or so (depends on the state and how much they are booked for hearings)

It sounds like youre in bad shape now financially, so I'd go to the SS site and get information (this is Federal), go to your state site for programs of other kinds to help you in the meantime, etc...find out programs in your city, etc...see if you can get a city social worker or advocate to help...a lot of this has to do with a lot of info fact finding, many people don't know what's out there for them, and they don't look properly...it's already been said that you can get help with the meds if youre financially strapped...

So if you want to pretty much make sure that your granted on your first time out, than get a lawyer who is a specialized Social Security lawyer (you do not have to pay them out of pocket up front, they will see you for free, or at least, most will)...it's like any other form of the law, one of the reasons you get a good lawyer is that they are connected and know what hoops to jump, papers to file, etc...and it's like many cases in the law where if you have compelling evidence, it is more likely you'll be granted what you want...you can find this out by going to a good SS lawyer, first ask him/her how many cases he's won? his record? how long he's been in the business? if he's/she's pretty good, he/she prob won't take your case on unless you have a good case...they most often get paid by contingency once you win your award...they factor this by when you first applied for this, and the Feds pay you retroactively from when you first applied, the lawyer takes his cut from that....

A good case means you have doctors disabling you, saying in writing why it is they think you can't work, this can be pretty involved...so if you have a doctor who seems pretty put off to this, get another one....

Once I went to one big time hepatologist, telling him of my symtoms (symptoms) (even though I had low liver damage) he thought I was going to ask him to disable me (and I wasn't) so the first thing out of his mouth was "I don't think people with hep c have any symtpoms at all unless they are in cirrhosis or ESLD, so I don't disable people unless they are in those categories, so don't bother to ask"....I told him that I wasn't asking, and I completely disagreed with him that you have to have cirrhosis or ESLD to have symptoms with this disease, that the virus itself can cause enough mischief within the body, and they are many people in authority who agree with me, and I wasn't asking him to "disable" me, and that I would be going to another physician....that was a real short doctor visit....thankfully, not all docs are like that one, but unfortunately, some are...part of your particular hassle and work will be finding good doctors who will believe you and help you...

If you have psychiatrists testifying to your "depression" and other things, you have a better case still...getting disabled from work is a bit different, but I hope this helps you....see an attorney is what I would advise, and have the evidence that would compel him/her as well...they are not going to grant it to you cause you go in saying you don't feel good with hep C....good luck....
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131817_tn?1209532911
I have a Disability lawyer and don't expect to get a huge settlement, for the workers comp claim. It isn't possible in CA anymore. Too many people abused it and I can't even get them to pay for shrinks. It comes out of my pocket. I filed a claim to take my power back and feel strong enough to not be afraid anymore, to fight the administrators who allowed kids to attack teachers. They didn't support me, they are too afraid of parents and lawsuits. But in the meantime, I am afraid to go on the freeway that goes near that school. I get literally sick if I do.  I haven't been to a shopping mall or large store, I am afraid to go anywhere alone. It is really frustrating. I have always been so independant. Although my husband has some money and is very generous, I pulled my weight, I have never had to have anyone support me... even my parents past 16, so it is hard for me not to have my own money. My money has run out, thankfully I can't touch my 401k's and I find myself wanting to have my own funds again. Perhaps I can't work now, so that was why I was asking about SSI. I am hoping that the hep symptoms go away eventually, but with my added PTSD I was thinking I may qualify, if I need it. I thought I would be back at school in a week like the last time I was attacked, but I quess it builds up. So who knows when it will be?  Like I said, I would rather work and am thinking about another career path. I feel to old to go to law school, but why not? John wants me to and I am pretty good at it. I have been helping him with his practice. Thanks for listening...
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86075_tn?1238118691
wow, hope youre feeling better as you read this...anyway, the sad paradox is, that you'd be one of the people who would be in a better position to get SS if you applied for it...you were probably in a higher paying job to begin with, and you have the initial cash outlay and insurance to see some good doctors, psychiatrists, etc....

If youre financially challenged, and have to rely on "system" docs, as in Medi-caid or county hospitals, etc...these docs "usually" are less inclined to disable you, generally speaking...they are too burnt out by the system and get very much more cynical about people's motives, etc., in that they see poor people all the time....and some of those poor people 'are' trying to get disability in a fraudulent way...so they some of these docs extrapolate out and paint most everyone with the same brush...plus, these doctors aren't making a lot of money themselves, so they don't have a lot of motivation in that regard either...

Not to say that sick, deserving people can't find "system" docs to disable them, they can, but it can be a lot harder...we have a disease that manifests itself many times on the "inside"...as you know....you can be very sick with this disease or it's treatments, and not look bad on the outside, hence, many docs think we're faking symptoms unfortunately...

And yes, there are people trying to work the system, rich and poor, and they are fraudulently trying to get disabled, but not everyone of course...

And just because someone is poor, that doesn't mean that they are any less trustworthy, necessarily speaking...but unfortunately, not all the system docs feel this way....so being poor and sick, you have to find those docs to believe you and disable you...it'll take more footwork from the patient, unfortunately, and feeling sick this isn't the most fun thing to do...most of this stuff with being disabled requires a lot of footwork and knowledge from the patient...SS is hoping that a certain percentage get discouraged by one doctor or whomever rejecting them...and they give up...believe me, they are counting on that, and many people do give up out of frustration or lack of knowledge...many very deserving people unfortunately...

On the other hand, if you go see some big name doc, you have good insurance and can see some of the best in the field, you have a much bigger pool of docs to choose from, who are making a lot more money....many times these docs are more apt to give you the "benefit of the doubt" and give a patient more attention and consideration in these areas...they especially like it if youre going in paying out-of-pocket for visits, they don't even have to deal with insurance companies then...under these circumstances, many doctors are far more "understanding." This goes for psychiatrists and doctors...of course I'm speaking in generalities here...those two women I know who got SS for depression, had good insurance and some money in the first place...and they both do have depresssion and are really disabled by it...

Goes for most fields, does a poor person get as much justice and consideration from the legal system here?....As a rich person who can afford the best legal representation? We can ask OJ that one...

If I was poor, and needed Social Security and didn't have insurance, I'd probably borrow some money to go see some good docs and psychiatrists, but this is just what "I" would do...along with seeing as many system docs as I could...funny how those 250.00 office visits yield so much more in these areas, sometimes with just one or two visits...just my opinions and people are free to disagree...I hope youre getting some real good advice for your disability case...best of luck with that...
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131817_tn?1209532911
That dr. sure sounds like a jerk! Thanks for all the info on SS. I have a workers comp claim for stress. I have shrinks evals etc that say I am over 50% disabled. I haven't gotten a dime in a year and a half from anywhere. Teachers don't get disablity ins. and thought I would be back at work a lot sooner. Now that I am on tx, I know I couldn't work, but I also couldn't work teaching anyway. Wonder if it would be worth my time to go for SS.

I hate sitting around and do want to work, although I have plenty of work around here and am probably going to law school myself if I ever feel better. I went back to college when my arms were in casts b/c I thought well since I'm off anyway, I might as well go to school. Sort of the same thing starting tx. I was off work anyway for work injury, might as will start tx. I'm not sure that was the greatest plan since the PTSD is exasperated by tx and I probably needed more time to heal. Oh well, what's done is done. I have to go to trial for the Workers Comp thing on Valentines Day. They get to tear my life apart on the stand since they did no discovery beforehand. Sure hope I am feeling good on tx that day!!! Maybe I'll take a few extra Riba and really let um' have it! LoL

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86075_tn?1238118691
sorry, don't have much time to read a lot of the threads so I guess I missed you taking about your ordeal, if you ever did...so very sorry about that...I've had some violence perpetuated against me when I was younger, so I know what youre talking about...I hope you are able to work all this stuff out to your advantage, one way or another...I'm like you, like to pull my own weight as well..but when we need help, we need help...you sound like such a cool person, I know you'll be okay...coaster to coaster...
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131817_tn?1209532911
Actually, I have never talked about it before in threads or posts before today. Lot's of dreams lately and hopefully working stuff out in them. I am a survivor and will get through all of this. It's nice talking to you. I think you're a pretty terrific person too.
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Avatar_f_tn


Oy Vay Baygirl!  Like what you're facing isn't bad enough, huh?  Sounds like good enough reason to have nightmares alright.  Know what you mean about being independent too.  Like you, I couldn't work while treating.  I closed my antique shop of 15 years and have been dependent on my husband who can easily afford me.  It's me who can't afford the dependence.
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131817_tn?1209532911
Thanks for the post! I am glad I found it. Yep, it is bad enough on tx without the PTSD, but I am doing it and hopefully getting "cured". I know what you mean about your not affording dependence. It doesn't feel good at all! I like having something to work at and make my life enjoyable!
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Avatar_n_tn
basically it comes down to
-are your symptoms affecting your ability to maintain employment?
-are you experiencing emotional distress because of your diagnosis?
-has your diagnosis led you to become depressed or manic?
all of these and there are a few more can determin whether or not you would be eligible for disability benifits.Be sure to keep a diary , your going to find that not only physically but hep-c can really play games with your head, or should i say having hepp-c not the disease itself. try your best to keep a diary of your energy levels, eating habits, and basically anything you feel may have changed since you contracted hep. find a good doctor and tell him EVERYTHING,in the end he is the one to be one of your deciding factors as you need a doctor to fill out your papers so dont hide anything from doc. good luck and be well its not the end of the world.
cheers
shayner
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