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Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) and Social Security Disability

This year alone, millions of Americans will file claims for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, and the majority of these applicants will wait months, if not years, before being approved for disability benefits. While the initial application process takes only three to four months to complete, most applications are denied during this stage, resulting in the need for an appeal. Depending on where you live and the specific circumstances of your claim, this process can take anywhere from a few months to more than two years to complete.

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration implemented the Compassionate Allowances initiative in 2008 to help those who suffer from severe or terminal disabilities by offering expedited handling of Social Security Disability claims. There are 88 conditions that qualify for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, including Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) in the blast phase. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with this condition and you are wondering how it affects eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information can help.

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) - Condition and Symptoms

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, also known as CML, Chronic Granulocytic Leukemia, or CGL, is a cancer that affects the white blood cells of the body. This form of leukemia is associated with unregulated growth of the myeloid cells that are located in an individual's bone marrow. As a result of rapid growth, the cells also accumulate in the patient's blood.

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia can occur at any age, although it most commonly develops in adulthood. While the symptoms vary between individuals, common symptoms of CML include fatigue, fever, easy bleeding, increased risk of infection, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, pain or fullness below the ribs (on the left side), a pale complexion, and night sweats. The exact cause of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia is unknown, although the condition is attributable to genetic complications.

The cells in the human body normally consist of 23 pairs of chromosomes. In most of the individuals who suffer from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, these chromosomes begin to trade sections with one another. A section of the ninth chromosome swaps places with a section of the twenty-second chromosome, resulting in an extra-short twenty-second chromosome referred to as the “Philadelphia chromosome.” This chromosome is found in approximately ninety percent of the patients who are diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.

In the blood of healthy individuals, normal blood cells grow and die at acceptable rates. In patients who develop Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, diseased white blood cells are created as a result of genetic mutation. These diseased cells develop at an uncontrolled rate and crowd out the healthy blood cells, causing damage to the bone marrow.

When diagnosing Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, a doctor will perform a physical exam and will conduct a number of blood tests. Bone marrow tests and genetic testing to look for the Philadelphia chromosome are also conducted. The condition is diagnosed in three different stages including chronic, accelerated, and blastic.

When an individual is suffering from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in the blastic stage, the cancer has become very aggressive and is life threatening. This is the stage of the condition that qualifies for disability benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Blast Phase Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)

If you have been diagnosed with the blast stage of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible. Because this condition is one of the 88 conditions covered under the Compassionate Allowances listings, your application for disability benefits may be approved in less than a month. It is important, however, that you provide the Social Security Administration with as much medical evidence as possible when submitting your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

When filing for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) in the blast phase, make sure that all lab results, test results, and a complete medical history are provided along with your application for benefits. You should also contact your medical professionals, informing them of your plan to apply for disability benefits. These professionals will need to provide the Social Security Administration with written statements to support your Social Security Disability claim.

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) Blast Phase and Your Social Security Disability Case

While it is true that Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in the blast phase is one of the 88 conditions listed under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, your claim for Social Security Disability benefits may not be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration. In some cases, applications for disability benefits that fall under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines can be denied at the initial stage of the application process due to poorly prepared disability applications or a misunderstanding on the part of the disability examiner reviewing the file. To avoid a delay in the approval of your disability claim, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate.

If you would like to learn more about the Social Security Administration's Compassionate Allowances program, or to find out whether or not you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a diagnosis of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in the blast phase, click here to obtain a free disability case review today.