When it comes to disability benefits after receiving a lifesaving organ transplant, many have questions. We’re breaking down all you need to know to qualify and apply for disability benefits post-transplant.
Organ transplants are life changing, but it’s imperative that transplant recipients pace their return to normal activities. A slow return to normal activities can make an immediate return to work challenging, which means making ends meet financially can be a concern for transplant recipients and their families. Fortunately, there is help available. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers financial resources for families who have been impacted by an organ transplant and are unable to continue to work.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits After Organ Transplant
Those who received an organ transplant will qualify for disability benefits for 12 months following their transplant. After 12 months, the SSA will reevaluate the claim. If a recipient is still too ill to be able to work, they may be able to continue to receive disability benefits.
There are two forms of disability benefits offered by the SSA, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Medical qualification is the same for both, but each program has specific technical qualifications.
SSDI is for people who have worked throughout their lives. If the recipient did not work and pay Social Security (FICA) taxes, they will not qualify. Typically, according to Disability Benefits Help, anyone who has worked at least five out of the past ten years will have earned enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.
SSI benefits are available only for the neediest families. There is no work requirement for SSI benefits, but if the recipient has a spouse who is earning a living wage, they will not qualify. Recipients will also not qualify if they have a significant amount of saved cash, stocks, bonds, or a second home or car.
Applying for Disability Benefits
The application process for SSDI benefits can be completed online or at your local SSA office.
To apply for SSI benefits, recipients will need to call the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment at a local SSA office. There are SSA offices in every state.
Re-Give the Gift of Life
As the beneficiary of lifesaving gift, remember that anyone—regardless of age and health —can sign up to be a donor. People with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hepatitis can save and heal lives. Donors well into their 80s have saved lives through organ donation and individuals over the age of 100 have donated tissue. This includes transplant recipients themselves who may donate other organs or tissues and re-give that gift of life.
Saying Yes to organ, eye and tissue donation helps you pay it forward and re-give the gift of life to another. Sign up when you visit your local driver license office or sign-up anytime online at DonateLifeColorado.org or DonateLifeWyoming.org.