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Social Security benefits for those with HIV/AIDS

Beyond the traditional old age and survivor benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) also provides benefits for younger people who need help. If you suffer from HIV/AIDS and are unable to work, or have other issues that have left you with few financial resources, you may qualify for benefits under these programs.

Two separate programs can provide benefits and you could qualify for both. The first program is Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). To qualify for this program, you need to have worked and paid Social Security taxes, but because of your disease (HIV/AIDS), you have been out of work for 12 months or your illness or condition has become terminal.

The second benefit program is known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For this program, eligibility is bases on if you are older than 65, blind or disabled and have little income and few economic resources.

In some cases, you may be eligible for benefits from both programs. The application demands that you provide your work and educational history and the medical records that provide evidence of you disability.

As you can imagine, if you have been seeing many doctors for a long period of time, your medical records alone may be large and complex. SSA reports many applications are rejected due to errors and mistakes.

For SSI benefits, the SSA notes that they can begin your benefit payment for up to six months before they make a final determination for your claim, if you are not working, if you meet their income and resource rules, and your doctor certifies the severity of your HIV infection.

If you have questions about the process or your application, a Social Security attorney can help.

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

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