A cancer diagnosis has a way of disrupting your life. When that diagnosis is a particularly serious cancer like adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma, your lifestyle has little choice but to change. Anyone who has undergone treatment for conditions like adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma knows that continuing to work during treatments is simply not practical.
For many with conditions like lymphoma, Social Security disability benefits are the only way to retain some income while the fight this disease. As you’ve probably heard, though, applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a long, drawn out process, taking time which those with aggressive cancers like adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma simply don’t have.
In 2008, the Social Security Administration recognized their responsibility to streamline the disability claim process for those whose medical conditions clearly qualified them for Social Security benefits. They recognized a list of 50 conditions which, by their diagnosis alone, automatically qualify sufferers as completely disabled. Since then, they have periodically added conditions to the list of qualifying conditions. The latest set of 30 additions went into effect December 1, 2012 and included Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma - Conditions and Symptoms
Lymphoma is a type of cancer which targets the lymphocytes, an important part of our immune system. There are over 80 forms of lymphoma, with 16 of them classified loosely as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of lymphoma which typically starts in the lymph nodes and spreads, often quite rapidly, throughout the body’s tissues and organs. Symptoms of adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma include:
- Swollen lymph nodes (may be in groin, neck, or arm pit)
- Abdominal discomfort
- Constant feeling of fullness in abdomen
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss when not trying to lose weight
- Chronic fever
- Night sweats
Treatments used for adult non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and bone marrow transplants. At present, there is no actual curative treatment for lymphoma. The available treatments are only used to treat the worst symptoms of the disease.
Medical Documentation to Prove Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
As mentioned previously, your adult non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis is enough, in and of itself, to qualify you for Social Security disability benefits. In fact, because it qualifies you for a compassionate allowance, you should be approved for benefits very quickly (within 6 weeks as opposed to six months to a year for most disability claims).
You will however need to show proof of your doctor’s diagnosis, including records of any medical imaging or biopsies your doctor ordered to come to his diagnosis. As long as your claim forms are filled out correctly, your claim should be shuffled into the compassionate allowances program and approved. In most cases, claimants begin receiving benefits within a month or two.
Documentation you will need includes:
- Record of clinical examination
- All imaging tests related to your diagnosis
- All biopsies related to your diagnosis
- All pathology reports
- Record of any surgical procedures performed
- All treatment records relating to your lymphoma
- Current progress notes from your physician
Legal Representation Your Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Disability Case
No one should have to battle the Social Security Administration’s red tape while also coping with adult non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The best way to ensure that your claim is filled out entirely and correctly is to enlist the aid of a Social Security disability attorney.
Social Security disability attorneys only charge you if you are awarded benefits. Their fees come as a percentage of the back pay to which you are entitled through Social Security. With compassionate allowance cases, this is generally a small amount, since the case won’t generally have to go through the drawn out process most claims go through.