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Are SSD benefits available to California HIV and AIDS victims?

For people in California and throughout the country who are suffering with HIV and AIDS, the treatment protocol has improved markedly in recent years. Unfortunately, these new treatment protocols do not diminish the possible problems victims still face. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for illnesses can provide those afflicted with HIV and AIDS some relief, at least financially. Understanding the rules and criteria for being approved, however, is the key to attaining benefits.

HIV and AIDS patients are unable to work, and as a result, they could qualify for SSD benefits. The issues surrounding the HIV or AIDS must be expected to last for a minimum of one year or end in the claimant's death. They must also be severe enough to prevent the ability to do substantial gainful activity. There are two available programs for people with HIV or AIDS.

First is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for those who worked and paid into the program through taxes. Second, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is for those with limited income and resources. In some situations, patients might be able to receive benefits from both.

People who are suffering from HIV or AIDS will have their case processes as rapidly as possible. While the case is in process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can pay SSI benefits for as much as six months before the case is approved or denied. But, the claimant not be working, meet the criteria for income and resources and the doctor or other medical information must verify that there is an HIV infection that is severe enough to meet the requirements. The claim can be expedited by providing the SSA with all the necessary information, including the Social Security number, birth certificate, a recent W-2 tax form and other personal information.

Disclosing medical information, such as treating doctors, statements as to how the infection of HIV or diagnosis of AIDS and its aftereffects have been an influence on the ability to function and the types of jobs that were held over the previous 15 years will also help. Since the entire process of filing for SSD benefits can be complicated, and any illness can lead to the need for long term care and the accumulation of medical expenses, it is imperative to seek help from a legal professional.

Source: SSA.gov, "Social Security For People Living With HIV/AIDS," accessed on Sep. 7, 2015

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