An initial application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be stuck in limbo for three or more months before it is reviewed. Even more troubling is the fact that about 70 percent of people who submit an application for SSDI benefits are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) following the first review. Those who are found ineligible must go through a second review, and most must also file an appeal after being denied a second time. The entire process can take up to two years.
For anyone suffering from a severely disabling condition or terminal illness, the prospect of waiting months, let alone years, for disability benefits is impractical. The SSA, recognizing this, implemented the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program in 2008, under which expedited review and approval of benefits for individuals with specific conditions is available.
At the present time, there are 113 conditions which fall under CAL guidelines. As of August 13, 2012, another 52 conditions will be added to that list, including Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
If your child has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, you’re no doubt devastated, and the last thing on your mind is the idea of jumping through hoops in order to get disability benefits on behalf of your child. The following information can help you better understand how the SSA’s claim review process works, and will also give you some guidance for getting your SSDI application reviewed and approved more quickly under the CAL program.
Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma – Condition and Symptoms
Lymphoma is a form of cancer which begins in the lymph system, a part of the immune system which is made up of lymph nodes, vessels and fluid. The nature of the lymph system itself allows cancer to spread quite easily and quickly.
There are several forms of Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, including Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, Burkitt Lymphoma, Non-Burkitt Lymphoma, and Large Cell Lymphoma. Of the different forms, Large Cell Lymphoma is the least aggressive, least likely to spread and slowest growing. It is also the form which response the best to treatment for these same reasons.
Lymphoblastic Lymphoma accounts for about a third of all Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma diagnoses world-wide and is usually found in teenagers. It begins in the thymus gland and often presses on the trachea, causing breathing problems as the first recognizable sign of the disease. Cancer of this type can spread quickly to lymph nodes, bone marrow, the lung and heart membranes, and the surface of the brain. Lymphoblastic Lymphoma is very similar to leukemia and is commonly diagnosed and treated as such.
About half the cases of Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in the U.S. are of the Burkitt or non-Burkitt type and are usually seen in boys between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. Both are among the fastest growing cancers. In the majority of cases, children develop large tumors in their abdomen which may cause bowel obstruction, pain, nausea and vomiting. The cancer can spread to other organs, including the surface of the brain.
Surgical removal of tumors is usually necessary, though the tumor locations and the degree to which cancer has spread determines when, or if, surgery is possible. In many cases, chemotherapy and radiation are required prior to and after surgery. The use of antibody and stem cell transplant treatments is increasingly common, as is the use of other complementary and alternative therapies, like acupuncture to relieve nausea and pain symptoms.
The outlook for Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma varies from case to case, but regardless of which form is diagnosed, the treatment required is extensive. Symptoms of the disease and side effects of treatment both elevate the level of daily care and attention patients need.
Caring for a seriously ill child is challenging for any parent and can put a strain on the finances and the ability to work. The SSA, recognizing this, and has added Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma to the list of conditions approved for expedited processing under the Compassionate Allowances program.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Because the various forms of Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma affect children and teenagers, SSDI claims filed with this diagnosis are completed by the parents. The process for applying for SSDI on behalf of a child is somewhat different than it is for disabled adults. Although the application process varies somewhat, the documentation required for proving a disability is basically the same in any SSDI claim.
Any SSDI benefits application must contain extensive medical documentation, even when the claim is filed for a condition which falls under the CAL program. This is true even with a diagnosis of Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Your application should contain all available medical records, including labs and other test results as well as statements from every one of the different physicians who’ve treated the condition.
Your Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Social Security Disability Case
Although Child Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma has been added to the CAL list, filing a claim with this diagnosis doesn’t guarantee immediate approval for disability benefits. You must still substantiate the disability by having a well documented case file and application. A Social Security Disability attorney can assist you in putting together your application and getting the appropriate documentation for proving your disability.
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 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, request a free case evaluation today.