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Aids and disability
Jun 21, 2004

I live in NY and had PCP ,as a result I vahe been diagnosed as having Aids. Do i qualify for disabilty ? What does the law says about it ?

Response from Ms. Breuer

It's not clear what you seek to be disabled from. Do you have a job? Does the job offer disability insurance as one of its benefits? Did you sign up for disability insurance when it was offered? Does your health care provider believe that you are so disabled that you cannot work? Did you know that people with HIV who are working enjoy better clinical outcomes and quality of life than people with HIV who are not working?

If you do not have access to private disability insurance, you're asking about Social Security Administration determination of disability. A bout with PCP is not going to establish disability for them. And do you really want it to? Those benefits are meager and hard to live on. The SSA is going to look for evidence that you truly cannot work, that you have serious limitations in your activities of daily living (ADLs) and that your situation is unlikely to change.

Remember that we are not lawyers here: we write from long experience with HIV as a workplace issue. And we believe that you're far better off working for a living than trying to live on disability benefits. Are you on meds? Are you adherent to those meds? Do you want a higher quality of life? You need to make some decisions about what your personal goals are to answer these questions, of course. But living on disability benefits is hardly a goal. It's a compromise.



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