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Social Security options for people with HIV/AIDS

With World AIDS day coming up on December 1, we are reminded of the debilitating virus and illness of HIV/AIDS. A public affairs officer from the Social Security Administration recently urged those with HIV/AIDS to examine their options under Social Security. He emphasized that applications from people with HIV/AIDS are processed quickly.

People with HIV/AIDS who are unable to work may qualify for disability benefits. The qualifications for disability benefits for illness require the inability to work for 12 months or a diagnosis that will result in death. Social Security provides these benefits under two programs, one of which is fir people who pay into Social Security, called Social Security disability insurance, and the other is designed for people with little income, called Supplemental Security Income.

Having a complete application at submission time can help to expedite the process. The names and addresses of any places the applicant has received treatment (hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices), an employment history of 15 years, and the ways in which HIV/AIDS has been detrimental to daily activities (including cooking, cleaning, utilizing public transit) are all necessary to the application. Having this data included from the start can decrease the time spent later to complete the application.

Working with an attorney experienced in the Social Security system can help to inform about the necessary application information and how to go through the appeals process, if that occurs. An attorney can be an excellent resource to ensure that benefits are received in a timely manner to decrease the stress on an already challenging situation.

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

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