Benefits for cancer patients under 65: will Leukemia qualify you?
You’re under 65 and you’ve recently been diagnosed with leukemia. You’re going through a lot right now. You’re feeling scared for your well-being and also for your financial security. You may be asking yourself; “If my condition gets to point where I can’t work, can I get social security disability (SSDI) benefits for Leukemia?” The short answer is yes.
Benefits for cancer patients under 65: How to get approved
Benefits for cancer patients under 65: Now that you know you may be eligible for SSDI benefits, you may be wondering what steps you need to take next.
You must file a claim. Nothing happens until you file. You can do it on your own or hire an experienced attorney. Remember, to win this case: Proper medical records are essential in helping you get your benefits. You need to obtain and file objective test results. Things such as;
- Reports of special blood work and labs,
- bone marrow studies,
- phenotype studies,
- operative notes,
- biopsy pathology reports,
You will also need a confirmed diagnosis from an appropriate medical specialist. Medical records that document not just the diagnosis, but BOTH the treatment and your response to the treatment will also be required. It is best to submit all this quickly and all at once.
There is also something called the SSA Compassionate Allowances list. This is a list of very special medical conditions. If you have the confirmed diagnosis, then this helps the SSA reviewers to quickly identify that your condition, by definition, meets Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. This enables a quick medical decision and hopefully expedited benefits.
Leukemia is on the SSA Compassionate Allowances list. When filling out your benefits application form, clearly state this fact. Flag the case as a potential compassionate allowance. State the type and stage of your cancer. It is important.
Benefits for cancer patients under 65: what makes your case?
Benefits for cancer patients under 65: Consider this quote from the SSA Listings;
“ We need medical evidence that specifies the type, extent, and site of the primary, recurrent, or metastatic lesion. When the primary site cannot be identified, we will use evidence documenting the site(s) of metastasis to evaluate the impairment under 13.27.”
What they are saying is that specific medical proof is essential to your case. For example, they want to see evidence of metastasis BEYOND a regional lymph node; this is why the SSA is so interested in the primary site of the cancer. Details like these can be critical to your case.
Acute leukemia currently meets SSA Listings of Impairment 13.06 A or 113.06, which deal with cancers. The SSA defines Listing of Impairments as, “impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity (or in the case of children under age 18 applying for SSI), severe enough to cause marked and severe functional limitations”. Understand that the Listings are NOT Compassionate Allowances. Yes, they share common medical conditions, but they are distinct regulations. Meeting a Listing is not easy. Many cases do not meet the terms that the SSA requires. But if you cannot meet a cancer Listing, this is not the end of the line. Your case can still be a success based on:
- the side effects of treatment
- the need for prolonged treatment
- the residuals of surgical resection to remove cancer tumors
- permanent neurological damage from chemotherapy drugs
- persistent weakness from the treatment
- gastrointestinal distress
- or the need for prolonged chemo and/or radiation.
So NOT meeting these Listing criteria does NOT mean your case is bad. It means you may need to have someone who works in disability law look at your case and work it with an eye towards success based on the SSA’s sequential evaluation process.