Disability Benefits for Hepatitis

About Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver. There are several types of hepatitis that all have distinct causes, symptoms, and treatments. Hepatitis is considered acute when it lasts less than 6 months and will heal on its own. Hepatitis is considered to be chronic when it continues longer than 6 months and has the potential to progress into fibrosis or cirrhosis.

Types of Hepatitis

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a type of infectious disease caused by HAV (hepatitis A virus). HAV is typically transmitted through the consumption of food or liquids contaminated with infected feces. In most cases, this type of hepatitis heals on its own and doesn’t lead to long-term liver complications. However, there are some rare severe cases where acute liver failure may occur (especially in older individuals).

Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can be easily spread without proper attention. Someone who is infected can accidently spread the disease by preparing food for others, having sexual intercourse, or engaging in any other type of close contact. Sometimes prevention can be difficult because some individuals may be infected and not even know due to the fact that many people experience little to no symptoms. This is definitely the case for children, as 90% who are infected do not show any symptoms at all. Hepatitis A can be effectively prevented by vaccination and by taking other preventive measures such as properly cooking food, hand washing, and avoiding close contact (if one knows they are contagious).

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

Usually the symptoms only persist for approximately 2-3 months but can last longer depending on the severity. Below are the common symptoms of hepatitis A.

  • Appetite reduction
  • Dark colored urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin or sclera (white part of the eye)
  • Nausea

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a type of infectious disease caused by HBV (hepatitis B virus). HBV is usually transmitted through contact with body fluids and blood of an infected individual. Most adults who become infected only have the disease for a short period of time (acute hepatitis B). On rare occasions, some adults have hepatitis B for longer than 6 months (known as chronic hepatitis B) and over time, may lead to liver damage and other complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Children who become infected at a young age have a significantly higher chance to develop chronic hepatitis B. Fortunately, the infection has a vaccination that makes acquiring the disease preventable.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a type of infectious disease caused by HCV (hepatitis C virus). Just like hepatitis B virus, HCV is transmitted through contact of blood and other body fluids. The big difference between hepatitis B and C is that approximately 75% of individuals who get hepatitis C develop the chronic version of the disorder. This is much higher than the chances to develop chronic hepatitis B as an adult. Chronic hepatitis C commonly results in liver damage as well as other complications like cirrhosis and liver failure. Unfortunately hepatitis C does not have a vaccination; only preventative measures such as educational awareness can help.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B and C

Both hepatitis B and C typically have the same set of common symptoms. Similar to hepatitis A, most individuals with hepatitis B and C (acute and chronic) don’t experience any symptoms at all. However, some people experience symptoms similar to the flu. The common symptoms are listed below:

  • Appetite reduction
  • Body aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling sick to the stomach
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dark colored urine
  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin or sclera (white part of the eye)

Causes of Hepatitis B and C

Common reasons for transmission of hepatitis B and C include having unprotected sex (no condom) with an infected person, sharing needles with an infected person (typically for drug-related purposes), getting a piercing or tattoo with an unsterilized tools, and sharing certain items that involve blood such as razors and toothbrushes (from gums bleeding). Both conditions usually can’t be contracted through normal, everyday contact such as hugging, coughing, or sharing food and drinks.

Qualifying with Hepatitis A, B, or C

Simply being diagnosed with hepatitis A, B or C is not enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits alone. An applicant’s hepatitis must be severe enough to have created liver complications such as hepatorenal syndrome, cirrhosis, or internal bleeding.

5.05 Chronic Liver Disease

All requirements need the proper, acceptable medical documentation and evidence.

A.) Hemorrhaging from esophageal, gastric or ectopic varices or from portal hypertensive gastropathy

B.) Ascites or hydrothorax not attributable to other causes despite continuing treatment as prescribed, present on at least 2 evaluations for a minimum of 60 days apart within a consecutive 6-month period.

C.) Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis with peritoneal fluid having an absolute neutrophil count of at least 250 cells/mm3.

D.) Hepatorenal syndrome

E.) Hepatopulmonary syndrome

F.) Hepatic encephalopathy

G.) End stage live disease


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Board Certified in Social Security Disability by the NBTA. Licensed in both Florida and Massachusetts. Accredited Veterans’ disability attorney.


Board Certified in Social Security Disability by the NBTA. Licensed in both Florida and Michigan. NOSSCR Board of Directors Member.


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