It's no secret that ingesting or inhaling lead can cause serious health problems, such as mental retardation and organ damage. Sometimes the injuries are so severe, they make it difficult for those affected to work and earn income. It may be possible to get Social Security disability payments for lead-related impairments, through, and here's what you need to know about the process.
Eligibility Is Based on Effect, Not Cause
The most important thing to understand about obtaining Social Security disability for lead poisoning is that eligibility for benefits is based on the disease or impairment caused by exposure to the lead, not the lead itself. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a long list of impairments and conditions (called the Blue Book) that qualify for benefits. However, lead poisoning is not on the list because it is not a condition or impairment but rather the source of the various associated medical conditions.
This is actually good, if somewhat bittersweet, news because any of the medical problems caused by contact with lead may qualify you for benefits. For instance, one of the complications related to lead poisoning is the onset of epilepsy or a similar seizure condition. The SSA has two entries for seizure disorders and, if your condition meets the minimum requirements listed, then you may be approved for benefits.
Other lead poisoning conditions that may qualify you for benefits include:
- Kidney disease (evaluated under Genitourinary Disorders)
- Gout (evaluated under Immune System Disorders)
- Paralysis (evaluated under Neurological Conditions)
- Depression and anxiety (evaluated under Mental Disorders)
- Hearing loss (evaluated under Special Senses and Speech)
A full list of disabilities and diseases caused by lead poisoning can be found on the Lead Action News website, while the SSA's Blue Book can be accessed online at its website. You can also get a full understanding of the medical consequences associated with lead by talking to a medical professional, while a disability lawyer can help you determine if your particular condition qualifies for benefits.
Proving Your Impairment
To successfully win Social Security disability benefits, you must prove to the agency's satisfaction that you have the impairment or condition and that it meets the SSA's minimum requirements for coverage detailed under the associated listing. For instance, children who suffer mental retardation as a result of lead poisoning may qualify for benefits if:
- The child's IQ score is 59 or below
- The child's IQ is between 60 and 70 but he or she has additional impairments or conditions that significantly limits the child's ability to function
- The professional is unable to effectively evaluate the child's intellectual capabilities because of the severity of the child's incapacity
There may be additional requirements depending on the child's age.
The Social Security Administration requires applicants to submit evidence supporting their disability claims. However, this evidence can only come from approved sources, such as licensed medical doctors, licensed psychologists, and qualified speech-language pathologists. Typically, these professionals will need to submit detailed reports outlining the severity of your condition, treatment, and prognosis. Therefore, when applying for Social Security disability benefits, the first thing you need to do is notify your healthcare providers so they can prepare the necessary paperwork.
The administration will also accept evidence from healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers where you are receiving treatment, as well as public or private agencies that may be providing assistance, such as in-home healthcare providers, social workers, and even employers.
In addition to submitting evidence of your condition, you may be required to undergo a Consultive Examination by either the healthcare provider treating you or by a qualified third-party. This is basically a summation of your condition, the effect your condition has on your ability to function, and your prognosis. This examination is typically required when the agency is unable to determine whether you qualify for benefits based on the evidence you provided.
Qualifying for Social Security benefits based on lead poisoning can be challenging. It's a good idea to consult with a disability lawyer who can guide you through the process to maximize your chances of getting approved. For more information about this issue, contact an attorney or visit websites like http://www.johnehornattorney.com.