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Compassionate Allowance - Beta Thalassemia Major

In recent years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken significant steps towards addressing long wait times for Social Security disability claimants. One of those steps has been introducing the Compassionate Allowances program in 2008. Claimants with conditions which are listed as compassionate allowances have their applications for disability fast-tracked, so they can receive a decision on their claim within a month or two.

Since the program was instituted, the SSA has periodically added additional conditions to the list of Compassionate Allowances. At present, there are over 200 conditions approved for compassionate allowances. Beta Thalassemia Major was among the latest group of 30 conditions added to the approved list.

Beta Thalassemia Major - Conditions and Symptoms

Beta Thalassemia Major is an inherited, genetic blood disorder which affects the bone marrow’s ability to produce hemoglobin. The condition typically manifests in infancy or early childhood and causes chronic anemia and hinders the blood’s ability to supply the body’s cells with oxygen.

People with beta thalassemia major require blood transfusions throughout their entire lives. Not only are those who suffer from beta thalassemia dependent on regular transfusions, but they also tend to develop complications from the buildup of excess iron as a direct result of the transfusions. This requires additional medical treatment.

Typical symptoms associated with beta thalassemia include:

  • Poor growth
  • Failure to thrive
  • Delayed onset of puberty
  • Jaundice
  • Pallor
  • Enlarged heart
  • Enlarged liver
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Skeletal abnormalities, especially in the facial bone structure

In most cases, beta thalassemia major results in death by the age of 20.

Applying for Social Security Disability with Beta Thalassemia Major

Generally, those applying for Social Security disability benefits for beta thalassemia major are doing so on behalf of their dependent child and will be applying for SSI and/or Medicare.

Because beta thalassemia major qualifies for a compassionate allowance, there is no doubt that the claim will be medically approved and you will be granted any Social Security disability benefits to which you are entitled. You will want to be sure that all claim forms are completely filled out and accompanied by complete medical documentation pertaining to your child’s condition. Generally speaking, the SSA will require:

  • Complete medical history and documentation consistent with a diagnosis of beta-thalassemia-major.
  • Complete lab reports showing electrophoresis and low hemoglobin levels
  • Iron studies showing elevated iron levels or toxicity of the liver
  • Genetic testing results, if genetic testing was conducted for diagnosis

Your beta thalassemia major case will be reviewed periodically. This will generally take place one year after bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.

Your Beta Thalassemia Major Disability Case

Assuming your claim is filled out correctly and includes the necessary medical proof, you will be approved for Social Security disability benefits. In most cases, you will begin receiving benefits within two months of your initial application.

Some claimants find it beneficial to consult with a Social Security disability lawyer. This can be helpful even when dealing with conditions which qualify for a compassionate allowance. Having a lawyer handle the claim takes a lot of the stress out of the process and helps ensure that the claim will be filled out completely and properly. Having a lawyer who is familiar with your claim on retainer can also be beneficial for the periodic reviews of your claim.