The Social Security Administration has contracted with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Science to establish a committee of medical experts to assist the Social Security Administration with improving their Listing of Impairments.
The IOM Committee specifically reviewed the Listing for HIV and provided a report to the Social Security Administration with their findings. The IOM notes that the current HIV listings no longer reflect medical reality. Individuals with HIV infection and AIDS are living longer lives now thanks to the use of antiretroviral drugs. However, the IOM recognizes that the treatments are lifelong and may have significant side effects.
Based upon these conclusions, the IOM has made the following recommendations: (1) there should be a listing for individuals with a CD4 cell count of less than or equal to 50 cells/mm; (2) individuals with several severe or fatal conditions that are caused by HIV infection should be considered permanently disabled; and (3) individuals with severe HIV related conditions not elsewhere in the listings should be found disabled if functioning is limited.
Essentially, the report indicates that a diagnosis of HIV does not provide for an automatic finding of disability because of the improvement in treatment. However, as with all severe impairments, the judge reviewing a disability claim will be required to review the Claimant s ability to function and make a determination of the Claimant s residual functional capacity and a finding of disability may be made at this step of the sequential evaluation.