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Child Neuroblastoma and Social Security Disability

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits application process can be quite lengthy, with most people waiting at least three months for their initial application to be reviewed. On average, about 70 percent of applications are initially denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Denials occur for a variety of reasons, though insufficient medical documentation supporting the disability claim is the most common cause.

If denied SSDI benefits, the applicant must proceed through a second review. If denied benefits again, the decision can be appealed, and each step in the process increases the wait for benefits by several months at least. The entire process, from first review to final appeal, can take a year or more, with some applicants waiting more than two years for a final determination on eligibility.

For anyone suffering from a severe disability or terminal illness, waiting months or years for a decision on eligibility for benefits is impossible. For this reason, the SSA implemented the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program in 2008, which allows for the expedited processing of disability applications which contain certain diagnoses, now including Child Neuroblastoma.

Currently, there are 113 conditions which fall under the CAL program. Come August 13, 2012, there will be 52 more conditions added to the list of disabilities which qualify for expedited processing under the SSA’s CAL guidelines. Child Neuroblastoma is among those which will become active on the list in August of this year.

If you’ve received a diagnosis of Child Neuroblastoma, the information which follows will help you understand the SSA’s disability claims review process. It will also provide you some insight into how to more quickly see disability benefits approved under the CAL guidelines.

Child Neuroblastoma – Condition and Symptoms

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer which occurs in infants and very young children. A diagnosis of cancer is always devastating, but particularly so when it involves a child. Neuroblastoma tumors develop in the nerve tissue and are usually present at birth, but are often not discovered until later when the tumor has grown and begun to put pressure on other areas of or organs in the body.

Neuroblastoma cancer cells spread easily, metastasizing in many different places, including the lungs, liver, lymph nodes, bone marrow and central nervous system. Most cases of Child Neuroblastoma are diagnosed before the age of 5, but because this type of cancer is so aggressive, cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body in about 70 percent of patients by the time the disease is diagnosed.

Child Neuroblastoma can be treated in a number of ways, and the location of tumors highly influences the manner in which patients are treated for the disease. Common treatments include chemotherapy, radiation and other more traditional therapies. Transplantation of healthy tissue and the use of the patients own stem cells to promote the growth of healthy cells in diseased areas are among the newer and more experimental treatment options.

Caring for a seriously ill child takes its toll on the finances and overall abilities of working parents to hold a job and earn a steady income. Going through multiple rounds of reviews and appeals for SSDI benefits only adds to the stress and worry. The SSA recognizes this and has recently named Child Neuroblastoma among the conditions which qualify for expedited claims processing for disability benefits under the CAL program guidelines.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Child Neuroblastoma

If you’re filing an application for disability with a diagnosis of Child Neuroblastoma, you will be doing so on behalf of a child. The process of filing for SSD benefits for a child is somewhat different than it is for disabled adults. Though standard filing processes and review procedures vary, the documentation required for showing the presence and severity of a disability is the same regardless.

You must have extensive medical records in any claim for SSDI. This is true even if your disability falls under the CAL program. In other words, even with a diagnosis of Child Neuroblastoma, automatic approval of benefits is not guaranteed. You will still need to provide adequate documentation related to the diagnosis and treatment of the condition, including all your medical records, lab and other test results, and statements from treating physicians.

Your Child Neuroblastoma Social Security Disability Case

While Child Neuroblastoma is now considered a standard condition n the Compassionate Allowances list by the SSA, and therefore qualifies for expedited processing, the diagnosis alone is not enough to be found eligible for SSDI. You must include substantial proof of disability in your application in order to be found eligible for benefits. A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you through the application and review processes, assist in getting the right documentation into your case file, and can shorten your wait for benefits as well.

To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowance listings or to discover whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with a diagnosis of Child Neuroblastoma, request a free case evaluation today.