RAIN resources include clinics and places of assistance. There are several clinics that exist and focus predominantly on HIV and AIDS. Physicians in family practice or internal medicine may treat people living with HIV or make a referral to an HIV specialist.
500 Lakeshore Parkway
Rock Hill, SC
Amity Medical Group 704-208-4134
6010 East WT Harris Boulevard, Charlotte
CMC – Myers Park Clinic 704-446-4490
1350 S. Kings Drive, Charlotte
Gaston Family Health Services – Hudson 704-874-3316
991 W. Hudson Boulevard, Gastonia
Eastowne Family Physicians, PA 704-413-1705
4115 The Plaza, Charlotte
ID Consultants, PA 704-331-9669
4539 Hedgemore Drive, Suite 100, Charlotte
NorthEast Infectious Disease 704-403-1766
Medical Art Building
200 Medical Park Drive, Suite 280, Concord
Novant Health ID 704-316-5330
1900 Randolph Road, Suite 216, Charlotte
Rosedale Infectious Disease 704-948-8582
103 Commerce Centre Drive, Suite 103, Huntersville
How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits with HIV/AIDS
Advancements in available treatments now allow many people with HIV to continue living and working relatively free of symptoms and complications for years, even decades, after diagnosis. When HIV infection causes severe complications or pronounced impairments with everyday functioning though, it can qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you’ll be unable to work for 12 months or more due to your HIV complications, you should consider applying for Social Security disability benefits.
The SSA’s HIV Disability Listing
If your medical records show you meet the HIV disability listing, you’re automatically medically qualified for benefits. The SSA uses a medical guide known as the Blue Book to evaluate Social Security applicants. The possible complications of HIV infection are many and varied, and the SSA accounts for these by describing multiple ways in which you can qualify:
- If you’ve developed an HIV-related cancer or lymphatic disorder, like:
- Lymphoma of the brain, brain stem, or spinal cord
- Large cell, non-Hodgkin’s or primary effusion lymphoma (PEL)
- Leukoencephalopathy that is multifocal and progressive
- Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma
- Castleman disease, of the multicentric form
- *If you have a CD4 count of 50 or lower, or a count of 200 or lower, along with one of the following:
- A body mass index of 18.5 or lower OR
- Anemia, with a hemoglobin count of 8.0 or lower
- If you have other complications of HIV along with decreased functional capacity in at least one of the following areas, you’ll be found eligible for benefits under the SSA’s HIV listing:
- activities of daily living
- interacting socially or participating in social activities
- seeing tasks through to completion due to concentration issues, decreased pace, or an inability to persist
It’s also possible to qualify for disability with HIV if opportunistic infections or HIV-related complications have landed you in the hospital at least three times in the last 12 months. Keep in mind though that hospital stays must occur with at least 30-days between them, and that each hospitalization must be 48 hours in duration or longer, although hours spent in the ER count toward each minimum stay.
*Some of the listings require blood tests, so be sure to review the Blue Book with your doctor to determine if you qualify. It’s important to note that while AIDS is not listed in the Blue Book, you will almost certainly qualify under one of the HIV listings.
Medical Records and Disability Approval
To approve any application for benefits, the SSA must have appropriate medical documentation of disability. With HIV, the essential medical records include records of a definitive HIV diagnosis in the form of:
- lab results, like an HIV antibody, antigen, nucleic acid, or viral culture OR
- a report from a physician, attesting to the completion of one of these diagnostic tests.
You may need your doctor’s assistance with understanding the medical evidence required for proving disability based on HIV complications or manifestations of HIV infection. You’ll want to inform your doctor of your plans to apply for benefits anyway, since he or she will need to provide access to your medical records and may even be asked to complete additional questionnaires by Disability Determination Services staff.
Applying for Benefits
You can complete your Social Security application online or at the local SSA office. To schedule an appointment at your closest SSA office, you can call the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. With thorough medical evidence on your side, you should be approved in around five months.