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Qualifying for Disability Benefits After an Organ Transplant

If you have received a transplant, or are on the donor waitlist, you may be eligible for assistance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers financial resources for people who have an illness severe to keep them from earning a gainful income. There is good news: you may not know that anyone who has an organ transplant will automatically medically qualify for Social Security benefits.

Medically Qualifying After an Organ Transplant

The SSA has its own medical guide called the Blue Book. The Blue Book contains hundreds of conditions that qualify, as well as the exact test results or symptoms you’ll need to be approved. Fortunately, medical qualification is very straightforward for people who’ve receive one of the following transplants:

  • Bone marrow
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Stem Cell


Anyone who receives an organ or bone marrow/stem cell transplant will medically qualify for Social Security disability benefits for 12 months following the procedure. The only exception is for people who receive a lung transplant—That will medically qualify for a full three years. The SSA will then revaluate your claim after the one or three years has passed to determine if your organ failure has improved enough for you to work.

Keep in mind that the listings are only for people facing organ failure—Organ donors will not be eligible for disability benefits, as the recovery period is usually just a few months. The SSA’s “Definition of Disability” states that you cannot be eligible for benefits unless you’ll have an illness that will persist for at least 12 months.

What If I Haven’t Had Surgery Yet?

Unfortunately, the Blue Book listings for organ transplants only include transplant recipients, not those on the wait list. But if you are on the wait list, it’s more likely than not that you’ll still qualify for disability benefits. The Blue Book also has listings for organ failure, which you’ll almost certainly meet if you’re waiting for an organ transplant. Here are just a handful of examples:


Other conditions that may qualify include leukemia and lymphoma. Because the entire Blue Book is available online, you can review it with your doctor if you’re on the donor waitlist to see if you can qualify for disability benefits ahead of time. Nearly everyone with organ failure severe enough to require a transplant will have no difficulty qualifying, so long as you have appropriate medical evidence documenting your illness.

Starting Your Application

Most people can apply online from the comfort of their own home. If you’d prefer, you can also apply in person at your closest SSA office. To do so, simply schedule an appointment with the SSA by calling 1-800-772-1213. Be sure to reserve a bit of time before calling the SSA’s main line, wait times to schedule appointments can be lengthy.

Once approved, you can use your monthly benefits on any medical costs, childcare, your rent or mortgage, transportation, or any other daily living needs.

This article was written by the Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help. They provide information about disability benefits and the application process. To learn more, please visit their website at by contacting them at




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