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Astrocytoma and Social Security Disability

Every year millions of American workers pay into the Social Security program, hoping to ensure that disability benefits will be available with them should the need ever arise. While more than three million of these workers are expected to file Social Security Disability claims this year, the sad fact is that a mere 30 percent of these applications will be approved if history is any indication of future approval rates. The remaining 70 percent of applicants will need to go through the lengthy disability appeal process if they ever hope to receive Social Security Disability benefits. This process can take months or even years to complete.

In cases when an individual’s condition is so severe that they cannot wait for the normal application and appeals processes to play out, however, the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program can help. Individuals who qualify for faster approval times under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines can often receive disability benefits in a matter of weeks, instead of having to wait months for an approval of their disability claim. Those diagnosed with grades III and IV Astrocytoma are among these individuals.

If you have been diagnosed with grade III or grade IV Astrocytoma and are wondering whether condition qualifies you for Social Security Disability benefits and how the Compassionate Allowances program will affect your application processing time, the following information can help.

Astrocytoma - Conditions and Symptoms

Astrocytoma is a tumor consisting of small, star-shaped cells that develops in the brain or the spinal cord. Grade III Astrocytoma tumors are moderately malignant, while grade IV Astrocytoma tumors are highly malignant. Anaplastic Astrocytoma accounts for approximately four percent of all of the primary brain tumors diagnosed in the United States. The condition develops in both children and adults, although it is most commonly found in women between the ages of thirty and fifty.

Each case of Astrocytoma is different, and the symptoms vary widely from person to person. Common symptoms of Astrocytoma include a loss of balance, difficulty walking, poor hand-eye coordination, impaired speech, headaches in the morning, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, mood swings, behavioral changes and unexplained changes in weight.

When a doctor diagnoses a case of Astrocytoma, he or she will perform an examination of the brain and spinal cord. CT scans and MRIs are often conducted. While a biopsy may be conducted, it is usually preferable to obtain a diagnosis by means of imaging technologies.

Treatment for Astrocytoma will depend on the location and progression of a patient’s tumor, but most patients will undergo surgery, followed up by radiation therapy. For patients who cannot undergo surgery, Astrocytoma is treated with radiation therapy only. It is also not uncommon for a patient to receive chemotherapy treatment during or after radiation therapy to treat advanced cases of Astrocytoma.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Astrocytoma (Grade III or IV)

Astrocytoma can be a severely debilitating condition and the treatments for the cancer can also have a detrimental impact on one's quality of life. If you have been diagnosed with grade III or IV Astrocytoma, you will want to file your claim for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible.

When preparing your disability application, provide the Social Security Administration with as much supporting documentation as possible. Lab results, copies of your MRI and CT scans, and medical records from your treating physicians will be necessary to prove your case for Social Security Disability benefits.

Grades III or IV Astrocytoma are contained in the 88 conditions listed under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program. Because of this, it is likely that you will receive an approval for Social Security Disability benefits in a matter of weeks due to expedited handling of your claim. It is important, however, that your application be presented properly in order for the adjudicator reviewing your claim to understand the severity of your condition and how your condition qualifies under the Compassionate Allowances listings.

Your Astrocytoma Social Security Disability Case

The Social Security Administration recognizes the severity of grade III and grade IV Astrocytoma, and has therefore included the condition in its Compassionate Allowances listings. Because of this, your application for Social Security Disability benefits is likely to be approved quickly due to expedited consideration of your claim. That does not mean, however, that you should not consult with a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate prior to filing your claim for disability benefits.

A disability attorney or advocate can help you present your application for Social Security Disability benefits in the best light possible to the Social Security Administration. This professional will know what documentation the adjudicator reviewing your case will look for and will ensure that the application process goes as smoothly as possible.