Image provided by Victor Hanacek

Social Security Disability for Kidney Disease

Kidney disease & renal failure often qualifies individuals for Social Security disability benefits. The fatigue, dialysis, and memory issues can make any kind of work nearly impossible! One of the fastest ways to be approved for Social Security disability benefits for kidney disease is if your condition meets the requirements of Listing 6.00 for Genitourinary Impairments (information about children’s disability for kidney diseases is available at Listing 106). Adult impairment of renal function is discussed at 6.02. Here is what you need to know:

6.02 Impairment of renal function, due to any chronic renal disease that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. With:

A.Chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis (see 6.00E1).


B. Kidney transplantation. Consider under a disability for 12 months following surgery; thereafter, evaluate the residual impairment (see 6.00E2).


C. Persistent elevation of serum creatinine to 4 mg per deciliter (dL)(100 ml) or greater or reduction of creatinine clearance to 20 ml per minute or less, over at least 3 months, with one of the following:

1. Renal osteodystrophy (see 6.00E3) manifested by severe bone pain and appropriate medically acceptable imaging demonstrating abnormalities such as osteitis fibrosa, significant osteoporosis, osteomalacia, or pathologic fractures; or

2. Persistent motor or sensory neuropathy (see 6.00E4); or

3. Persistent fluid overload syndrome with:

a. Diastolic hypertension greater than or equal to diastolic blood pressure of 110 mm Hg; or

b. Persistent signs of vascular congestion despite prescribed therapy (see 6.00B5); or

4. Persistent anorexia with weight loss determined by body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.0, calculated on at least two evaluations at least 30 days apart within a consecutive 6-month period (see 5.00G2).

To qualify under this listing, you have to meet either A, B, or C described above. Print out this article and take it to your doctor or nephrologist. If your doctor says your condition meets the Social Security requirements, ask him or her to put it in a written report you can provide to Social Security. It may allow Social Security to approve your case and shave months off the waiting time for  a hearing.

Even if your condition does not meet the requirements of the above listing, you may still be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if your condition prevents you from being able to do some type of full-time work. One of the best ways to document this is by using a “Medical Source Statement of Workplace Limitations” or “Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)” form. These RFC forms can be completed by your doctor or healthcare provider and describe your work place limitations. The RFC forms show Social Security your limitations with sitting, standing, walking, lifting, and the number of hours you are able to work. You can find free Social Security RFC forms here.

Image provided by Victor Hanacek.

  • slippery slope

    I am 72, drawing social security. Can I also apply for disability? I’m definitely disabled and have been for about 10 years. My husband is in the same position. He has stage 3 kidney failure, only one kidney with approximately 40% function.

    • TomaszStasiuk

      Once a person reaches retirement age, Social Security converts the benefits paid from disability to retirement. If a person is already on Social Security retirement benefits, my understanding from Social Security is that they are not eligible for additional Social Security disability benefits.

      For specific information about Social Security disability benefits after retirement age, I encourage you to contact Social Security directly.