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Health Agencies Update
October 27, 2010

AIDS Benefits

JAMA. 2010;304(16):1777. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1488

To reflect advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to revamp the criteria it uses to determine whether an individual with the disorder qualifies for disability benefits, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM; http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12941).

In 1993, the SSA established a list of AIDS-related conditions, such as opportunistic infections and cancers, that would qualify individuals for permanent disability benefits. At the time, individuals with such complications typically had a life expectancy of 1 to 2 years. However, more effective therapies have since become available that have made such conditions less common and have substantially extended patients' life expectancies.

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