Social Security’s treatment of disability claimants with severe liver disease is often distressing. One notable feature when dealing with clients suffering from failing livers is the phenomenon known as “fetor hepaticus,” colloquially referred to as the “breath of the dead.” This smell emanates from the breath of some individuals with advanced liver disease, and it’s profoundly disturbing.

Fetor Hepaticus: The Disturbing ‘Breath of the Dead’

When you encounter someone with the breath of the dead, the olfactory impact is visceral. It’s as if the person is already decaying from within. But here’s the paradox: despite this unmistakable sign of severe illness, patients in this condition are often denied Social Security disability benefits. The denial isn’t due to the smell itself; rather, it reflects a flawed assessment of their ability to work.

Why Deny Benefits to Those with Fetor Hepaticus?

The question lingers: Why deny benefits to individuals whose breath reeks of impending mortality? The answer lies in the bureaucratic maze of eligibility criteria. Social Security standards for liver disease cases may not fully account for the gravity of fetor hepaticus. Perhaps decision-makers haven’t experienced this scent firsthand, or perhaps they underestimate its significance.

If you’re in NC and want help with your Social Security disability claim, call Hall & Rouse, P.C. at 1-844-425-5347