If you are suffering from HIV/AIDS, you already know how debilitating it can be to deal with the many symptoms. This medical condition can affect every aspect of your health, and it often means that the effects of the disease make it impossible to work at your job. Once you find that your symptoms are preventing you from working, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits. Read on to learn more about how the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines your level of disability when dealing with HIV/AIDS.
What work can you still do?
Instead of considering what you can no longer do, the SSA evaluates applicants on the level of work that they can still do, even if afflicted with a serious medical condition. They look at the type of work you were doing when you became disabled, so if you were working as an airline pilot, they would look at what is required to do that job and see how many of those tasks you can still attend to. The SSA calls the work you can do your residual functioning capacity (RFC).
Three residual functioning capacity categories
Physical: When you consider some of the common symptoms of HIV/AIDS, it's plain to see that the physical activities you perform at work are severely compromised. Pain and muscle weakness is common, and an overall feeling of weariness can pervade. To make matters worse, many medications prescribed to deal with the symptoms of this condition carry unpleasant side effects. The physical part of your RFC consists of an evaluation of your ability to stand, walk, sit, bend, reach, and more.
Mental: HIV/AIDS sufferers often experience mental confusion and emotional damage caused by the disease and medications. You may be going through depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and more as a result of the disease. This evaluation looks at your ability to remember things, solve problems, and concentrate.
Sensory: The five senses are evaluated here: vision, hearing, smell, touch, and speaking. Numbness, vision disturbances, and neurological problems caused by the disease as well as the medication can affect workers. For example, some medications can cause the skin to become photosensitive, which means that it's a lot more sensitive to light and sunlight. This could cause a huge impact on someone who commonly performs most of their tasks outdoors.
You should understand that after an evaluation, you may receive a letter of adverse ruling in the mail, regardless of the way that the HIV/AIDS affects your ability to work. Speak to an attorney and get your case heard and approved using the appeal that the SSA grants you. For more information, talk to a company such as Iler and Iler.
I'll be up front: I have a criminal record. As someone who's spent lots--and lots--of time looking for a job in my life, I've gotten used to being up front with this fact. It's difficult to get hired with this on my record, and frankly, it never gets less scary to have to tell an interviewer about it. But that doesn't mean I'm unemployable. I'm a hard worker who can bring a lot to any company. And I also know what an employer needs to do for me. I know my rights. There's no federal law protecting me from discrimination due to my record, but there are plenty of state laws that make it a little easier for me. If you're looking for a job and you have a criminal record, read through this information. Protect yourself during a job search. Know your rights.