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Does SSA Qualify Anemia as a Disability?

Anemia is a condition where red blood cell count is significantly lower than normal, and can be caused by many factors such as iron or folic acid deficiency, cancer, AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, gastrointestinal or menstrual bleeding, or bone marrow disease. Symptoms of anemia range from mild to severe depending on the underlying cause; the severity of anemia can result in disability for some. People with pre-existing illnesses such as heart problems are more likely to experience worse symptoms due to anemia.

Hemolytic anemias such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia may also be classified as disabilities under their own listings. To determine if an individual’s anemia is considered disabling for Social Security Disability purposes requires a careful analysis of the severity of the hemoglobin levels and any treatments that have been administered.

How Do I Get Approved for Benefits with Anemia?

Social Security offers a range of disability listings for those with serious medical conditions, including the listing 7.02 criteria for chronic anemia which required that the percentage of red blood cells in one’s blood be persistently low (hematocrit at 30% or less) in addition to requiring a minimum of one blood transfusion every two months. In 2015, Social Security introduced listing 7.18 which covers any adult blood disorder; severe anemia can qualify if it causes significant documented problems like pain, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue and limits activities of daily living, social functioning, or ability to finish tasks in a timely manner.

Moreover, evidence of low hemoglobin levels/low hematocrit is necessary to show a physiological cause for the condition while evidence of blood transfusions helps to show its severity. Alternatively, other listings may apply depending on the cause and effects of anemia such as cardiovascular or respiratory listings caused by advanced kidney disease.