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Disability Benefits After an Organ Transplant

By Bryan Mac Murray, Social Security Disability Help

Organ transplants are life changing, but because the recovery process is so important, 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

Those who have received an organ transplant will automatically medically 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 can 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, 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. Applying is easy and the application can be saved and continued or submitted anytime.

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.