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Can one get SSD benefits if they have HIV or AIDS?

While treatments for HIV and AIDS have improved to the point that New Jersey residents suffering from it are often able to function relatively normally, that is not the case for everyone. For those whose medical issues stemming from HIV or AIDS, it is possible to get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. There are certain requirements to get SSD benefits. It is important to know them before applying. The applicant cannot have the ability to work. The condition must be expected to last for at least one year or end in the person's death. It must be severe enough so the person is not able to do substantial gainful work.

There are two programs under which a person who has HIV or AIDS can get SSD benefits. They are the Social Security Disability Insurance program and Supplemental Security Income. SSI is for those who have limited income and resources. Some people can get benefits from both. For SSDI, the benefits will hinge on the person's work history. The amount the person gets will depend on their work earnings. Those who have gotten disability for 24 months will be eligible for Medicare. With SSI, the person might also be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid.

For applicants who specify that they have HIV or AIDS, the application will be processed as quickly as possible. With SSI, the benefits can be paid immediately for as long as six months if the person is: not working; meets the requirements for income and resources; and a medical professional issues a certification that the person has HIV and certain criteria is met. The applicant can speed the process by giving all the necessary personal information, tax information, doctors who have been providing treatment as well as medical facilities, how HIV or AIDS has affected the person's daily life, and the type of work the person has done for the previous 15 years. Some people who get approved for benefits improve sufficiently that they can get back to work. If that is the case, the benefits might continue while the person works.

When people are diagnosed as having HIV or AIDS, the way they are affected can vary. Some cannot work and need to apply for SSD benefits to survive. A legal professional who understands the process for getting Social Security disability benefits can help with the application and any other issue related to SSD that arises.

Source: SSA.gov, "Social Security For People Living With HIV/AIDS," accessed on April 24, 2018

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