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World AIDS Day to be observed on December 1

Our readers may not be aware of it, but December 1 is World Aids Day. The purpose of the remembrance is to raise awareness of the devastating effects of the disease and held alleviate the stigma surrounding the disease and increase recognition of the problem as a family disease.

Those with HIV/AIDS who cannot work may qualify for disability benefits through Social Security. To qualify, the medical condition must be serious enough to prevent one from working for at least 12 months or be expected to result in death. Disability benefits are paid under two programs: the Social Security disability insurance program for those who paid Social Security taxes; and the Supplemental Security Income program for those who have low incomes and little resources. Applicants may qualify for one or both of these programs.

The Social Security Administration works to process applications as quickly as possible, but SSDI applications may require a bit of a wait. Claims can be sped up by providing the names and addresses of doctors, hospitals, or clinics that have treated the applicant for the condition; information on how the condition has affected one's daily activities; and the kinds of jobs the applicant has held in the last 15 years. The agency works with state agencies to sift through applications and evaluate the information provided.

Those who meet certain conditions may receive Supplemental Security Income right away for up to six months before a final decision on one's claim is made. Those conditions are that one: is not working; meets the rules about income and resources; and can obtain a doctor or other medical source to certify that the HIV infection is severe enough to meet medical eligibility rules.

Source: Mesquite Citizen Journal, "Social Security Helps People with HIV/AIDS," Rita Meier, November 30, 2012

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