Individuals with HIV/AIDS eligible for Social Security benefits

Regular readers of this blog are probably aware that individuals who suffer from various illnesses may be eligible for social security benefits. Readers may not be aware however that one of the illnesses included is HIV/AIDS. Depending on one's work history, the qualifying benefits could be either under Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. In some situations, it is possible that a person could qualify for both.

To be eligible for SSI benefits, individuals with HIV/AIDS must not be able to work and their income must be below a certain threshold. In addition, a doctor must determine that the person's medical condition is serious enough that it qualifies. In some situations these benefits may be available immediately.

Those who are not eligible for SSI benefits may be able to secure benefits under SSD. This program provides benefits to some people who have a work history in which they have paid Social Security taxes. The beneficiary must not be able to "engage in any substantial gainful activity" due to a medical condition, either physical or mental. In addition, the medical condition must be serious enough that it has, or can be expected to last for a full calendar year or, in the alternative, result in death. Because it can take some time before this type of claim is fully processed, in some cases it may be possible to obtain SSI benefits in the interim.

Securing benefits under either of these programs, regardless of one's medical condition, can be a difficult proposition. There are many pieces of information required. If just one piece is missing a claim could be denied. For this reason, many find it helpful to consult an attorney who handles SSDI and SSI cases.

Source: The Paramus Post, "Social Security Helps People with HIV/AIDS," Everett M. Lo, Nov. 15, 2012

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