Social Security Disability for Anemia and other Blood Disorders

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues. Possible causes of anemia include:
  • Certain medications
  • Chronic diseases such as cancer, ulcerative colitis, or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Genes — some forms of anemia, such as thalassemia, can be inherited
  • Kidney failure
  • Blood loss (for example, from heavy menstrual periods or stomach ulcers)
  • Poor diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Problems with bone marrow such as lymphoma, leukemia, or multiple myeloma
  • Problems with the immune system that cause the destruction of blood cells (hemolytic anemia)
  • Surgery to the stomach or intestines that reduces the absorption of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid


Possible symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Headaches
  • Problems concentrating
  • Shortness of breath (especially during exercise)
  • Problems thinking or concentrating

It is important to keep your doctors aware of any symptoms you experience and how such symptoms affect your ability to perform activities of daily living and to work. United Disability Lawyers Group can help you establish disability on the basis of anemia by itself or in combination with other impairments. The Social Security Listing for anemia is as follows:

  • A. Impairment caused by anemiashould be evaluated according to the ability of the individual to adjust to the reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. gradual reduction in red cell mass, even to very low values, is often well tolerated in individuals with a healthy cardiovascular system.
  • B. Chronicity is indicatedby persistence of the condition for at least 3 months. The laboratory findings cited must reflect the values reported on more than one examination over that 3-month period. Medically acceptable imaging includes, but is not limited to, x-ray imaging, computerized axial tomography (CAT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with or without contrast material, myelography, and radionuclear bone scans. “Appropriate” means that the technique used is the proper one to support the evaluation and diagnosis of the impairment.
  • C. Sickle cell disease refers to a chronic hemolytic anemia associated with sickle cell hemoglobin, either homozygous or in combination with thalassemia or with another abnormal hemoglobin (such as C or F). Appropriate hematologic evidence for sickle cell disease, such as hemoglobin electrophoresis, must be included. Vaso-occlusive or aplastic episodes should be documented by description of severity, frequency, and duration. Major visceral episodes include meningitis, osteomyelitis, pulmonary infections or infarctions, cerebrovascular accidents, congestive heart failure, genito-urinary involvement, etc.
  • D. Coagulation defects. Chronic inherited coagulation disorders must be documented by appropriate laboratory evidence. Prophylactic therapy such as with antihemophilic globulin (AHG) concentrate does not in itself imply severity.

7.01 Category of Impairments,

  • Hematological Disorders

7.02 Chronic anemia(hematocrit persistingat 30 percent or less due to any cause) With:

  • Requirement of one or more blood transfusions on an average of at least once every 2 months; or
  • Evaluation of the resulting impairment under criteria for the affected body system.

7.05 Sickle cell disease, or one of its variants With:

  • Documented painful (thrombotic) crises occurring at least three times during the months prior to adjudication; or
  • Requiring extended hospitalization (beyond emergency care) at least three times during the 12 months prior to adjudication; or
  • Chronic, severe anemia with persistence of hematocrit of 26 percent or less; or
  • Evaluate the resulting impairment under the criteria for the affected body system.

7.06 Chronic thrombocytopenia (due to any cause), with platelet counts repeatedly below 40,000/ cubic millimeter. With:

  • At least one spontaneous hemorrhage, requiring transfusion, within 5 months prior to adjudication; or
  • Intracranial bleeding within 12 months prior to adjudication.

7.07 Hereditary telangiectasia

  • with hemorrhage requiring transfusion at least three times during the 5 months prior to adjudication.

7.08 Coagulation defects (hemophilia or a similar disorder)

  • with spontaneous hemorrhage requiring transfusion at least three times during the 5months prior to adjudication.

7.09 Polycythemia vera (with erythrocytosis, splenomegaly, and leukocytosis or thrombocytosis)

  • Evaluate the resulting impairment under the criteria for the affected body system.

7.10 Myelofibrosis (myeloproliferative syndrome)With:

  • Chronic anemia. Evaluate according to the criteria of 7.02; or
  • Documented recurrent systemic bacterial infections occurring at least 3 times during the 5 months prior to adjudication; or
  • Intractable bone pain with radiologic evidence of osteosclerosis.

7.15 Chronic granulocytopenia (due to any cause)With both A and B:

  • A. Absolute neutrophil counts repeatedly below 1,000 cells/cubic millimeter; and
  • B. Documented recurrent systemic bacterial infections occurring at least 3 times during the 5 months prior to

7.17 Aplastic anemias with bone marrow or stem cell transplantation

  • Consider under a disability for 12 months following transplantation; thereafter, evaluate according to the primary characteristics of the residual impairment.