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.
Kuehn BM. AIDS Benefits. JAMA. 2010;304(16):1777. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1488