Judge agrees with Social Security Administration in denying disability benefits to HIV-positive man

By Erianne Leatherman | Jun 7, 2018

MIAMI – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District recently ruled that a Florida resident with AIDS is not entitled to disability benefits.

MIAMI – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District recently ruled that a Florida resident with AIDS is not entitled to disability benefits.

According to the May 22 filing, U.S. Magistrate Judge John O’Sullivan ruled in favor of the Social Security Administration (SSA)

The plaintiff, Adem Albra, filed for disability insurance benefits in May 2014 with the SSA.

Albra tried to claim disability insurance benefits “based on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency system (AIDS), secondary polycythemia, hypothyroidism, HIV related cognitive problems/wasting, chronic fatigue, gastric reflux, gum disease, severe depression, and general anxiety disorder.”

After his application was denied by the SSA, Albra requested a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), which occurred on June 13, 2016. The ALJ denied Albra’s application on Oct. 21, 2016, and he filed an appeal with the Appeals Council for review, but that was denied as well. 

Albra then asked the court to reverse the ALJ's decision and requested that disability insurance benefits be given to him under Title II of the Social Security Act. 

The court pointed out that the ALJ found that Albra had not been involved in any  "substantial gainful activity since February 10, 2012, the alleged onset date," and that "the record demonstrated the plaintiff’s HIV status was asymptomatic... ."

Also, "the ALJ noted that despite claims by the plaintiff of eye problems the record does not support the allegations," court documents state.

In his final ruling, O’Sullivan said, “the ALJ’s findings and ultimate decision were both based on substantial evidence and were proper. In accordance with the foregoing, it is ordered and adjudged that the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment is granted and that the Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment is denied." 

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