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World AIDS Day and Social Security assistance for people with HIV/AIDS

World AIDS Day is December 1st and the Social Security Administration, the President, government leaders, agencies, and organizations around the world are raising awareness and honoring the millions of people who are living everyday with HIV/AIDS. Those who have been diagnosed and suffering from the disease are often unable to work.

If you suffer from HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles, California or nationwide, you may qualify for disability benefits. For those seeking benefits, your condition must be serious enough to prevent you from working for at least 12 months or expected to result in death.

Disability benefits are available under two programs: the Social Security disability insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Social Security disability insurance is available to those who have paid taxes as an employee or income earner. If you have little work history or no resources, you may be eligible for SSI. You may qualify for 1 or both of these programs.

Seeking treatment and attending to day-to-day expenses can become costly and overwhelming. Many patients of HIV/AIDS will need benefits assistance as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can review your medical documentation and help to prepare your claim. While the Social Security Administration works to process applications quickly, an experienced attorney can help to provide appropriate medical documentation and complete filing to prevent delays.

Benefits will be paid immediately for up to six months before a final decision is made if you are not working, you meet SSI rules about income and resources, and your doctor or other medical source certifies that your HIV infection is severe enough to meet medical eligibility rules. Providing information up-front and completing proper filing can ensure a timely receipt of benefits.

You can also speed up the process by providing certain information including the names and addresses of doctors, hospitals, or clinics where you receive treatment, how HIV/AIDS impacts your daily activities, and the kinds of jobs you have held the past 15 years. An experienced advocate can help you prepare documentation and secure immediate compensation benefits.

Source: The Paramus Post, "Social Security Helps People with HIV/AIDS," Everett M. Lo, Nov. 15, 2012

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