Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Many times, a person with hepatitis C may not even know they have the virus since they may not have symptoms. Some claimants with Hepatitis C, have a history of drug abuse, however it is common to get the disease from a blood transfusion or unprotected sex. Hepatitis C can cause severe weakness and a lack of energy. A chronic infection of hepatitis C can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis. The primary medication given for hepatitis C is Interferon Alpha which can cause serious side effects of fever, chills, weakness, and depression. A Social Security Hearing will focus on a medical opinion by a doctor as to functional limitations. Also laboratory results showing serum bilirubin levels are very important. The results of liver biopsies must be presented if they are available.
MELD stands for Model for End-Stage Liver Disease. MELD scores are used to set priorities for liver transplants. In interpreting the MELD Score in hospitalized patients, the 3 month mortality rate is:
|MELD Score||Mortality Rate|
|40 or more||71.3%|
|Less than 9||1.9%|
As can be seen, if you have Hepatitis C, you need to know your MELD score. You can calculate your MELD score by using the Chronic Liver Disease Calculator.
Important Laboratory Values:
- Serum creatinine level in mg/dL
- Total bilrubin level in mg/dL
- International normalized ratio
Please keep in mind that if your Hepatitis C came from documented drug use, you will probably have a difficult time in presenting a strong case to the Social Security Administration.