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Ascites, which is fluid build-up in the abdomen, can occur when pressure builds up in the veins of the liver and the liver doesn’t function as it should. The most common cause of ascites is cirrhosis of the liver. The abdominal fluid can be drained periodically by a procedure called paracentesis. Patients with severe liver diease may have several liters of fluid drained during a paracentesis.

Social Security has a listed impairment that addresses this condition when it is due to chronic liver disease. Listing 5.05 B.1. states:

Ascites or hydrothorax not attributable to other causes, despite continuing treatment as prescribed, present on at least 2 evaluations at least 60 days apart within a consecutive 6-month period. Each evaluation must be documented by:

1. Paracentesis or thoracentesis;

See also 5:00D.6. “The required findings must be present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart within a consecutive 6-month period and despite continuing treatment as prescribed.”

As listings go, this one is fairly straightforward, and easy to evaluate if you know what to look for. Once the medical records are obtained and reviewed, each paracentesis procedure will be shown.

Someone who meets the listing likely has other symptoms of chronic liver disease, such as fatigue, and may be found to be disabled on a medical-vocational basis at step 5 of the sequential evaluation. But the listing has fewer variables and can get the claim decided much faster, often without a hearing.