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Liver Cancer and Social Security Disability

Millions of hard-working Americans are covered by Social Security Disability Insurance. Because these individuals pay into the Social Security system, they assume that disability benefits will be there for them if and when they need them. When a taxpayer does become disabled, he or she submits an application for Social Security Disability benefits, assuming that their application will be approved in just a few short months. Unfortunately, the system does not always work the way these taxpayers expect it to.

The fact of the matter is that the majority of disability claims are denied by the Social Security Administration. In fact, almost 70 percent of disability applicants will not receive an approval at the initial application stage. These applicants will have to undergo the complicated and lengthy disability appeal process if they ever hope to receive a payment from the Social Security Disability program. To make matters worse, the appeal process can take some applicants more than two years to complete.

Many applicants wonder what happens to disability applicants who cannot possibly wait such long periods of time for Social Security Disability benefits to begin. What happens when a condition is so severe that immediate attention is warranted? In 2008 the Social Security Administration took steps to address this concern and implemented the Compassionate Allowances program.

There are 88 conditions that qualify an applicant for faster approval of disability benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Instead of waiting months for benefits to be approved, applicants who have a condition included in the Compassionate Allowances listings may begin receiving disability benefits in a matter of weeks. Liver cancer is one of the 88 conditions that qualify for claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

If you have been diagnosed with liver cancer and you are wondering how your condition affects your eligibility for disability benefits, the following information will help you understand the disability claim process and how you can increase your chances of receiving faster approval under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Liver Cancer - Conditions and Symptoms

Liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, primary liver cancer or hepatoma, is a cancer that develops in the tissue of the liver. Liver cancer is the third-most common type of cancer in the world. The condition is also highly fatal, killing almost all of the patients who develop the condition in less than a year. In the year 2000, it was estimated that there were approximately 564,000 new cases of liver cancer worldwide.

The frequency of liver cancer in the United States is much less common than some other areas of the world, such as Japan and Korea, affecting approximately five out of every 100,000 people in the country. While there is no single cause attributed to the development of liver cancer, there are certain risk factors that can increase an individual's chances of developing the condition. Hepatitis B or C, alcohol consumption, consumption of Aflatoxin B1, chemical exposure, certain drugs, hereditary hemochromatosis, obesity, diabetes and cirrhosis can all increase an individuals' risk of developing liver cancer.

Most people who develop liver cancer will not experience any symptoms in the initial stages of the disease. Unfortunately, this often leads to the condition remaining undiagnosed until the cancer has become severe and has spread to other areas of the body. When patients do experience symptoms from liver cancer, they commonly experience unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, general weakness, fatigue, liver enlargement, abdominal swelling and jaundice.

The treatment for liver cancer varies on a case-by-case basis. Surgery is usually the first course of treatment in combination with chemotherapy. In very rare cases, a liver transplant may be suggested. Unfortunately, radiation therapy is not effective for most liver cancer patients and most cases of liver cancer do not respond successfully to any treatment at all. Only about 9 to 19 percent of patients who undergo surgery for liver cancer live for more than five years after surgery.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a very severe and debilitating condition. The treatments involved with addressing liver cancer can be just as debilitating as the condition itself. Because of this, most patients who develop liver cancer are unable to work. Fortunately, the financial stress caused by an inability to earn an income may be offset by Social Security Disability benefits.

Social Security Disability applicants who are applying for benefits based on a diagnosis of liver cancer do not have to undergo the standard disability claim process. Liver cancer is one of the 88 conditions which qualify an applicant for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines. You will still, however, have to provide the SSA with as much medical evidence as possible when filing a disability claim. Medical records and written statements from treating physicians can all increase your chances of a hassle-free approval under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Your Liver Cancer Social Security Disability Case

Many patients who apply for Social Security Disability benefits based on one of the 88 conditions that qualify for claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines assume that their applications will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration. This is not necessarily the case. It may not happen often, but the Social Security Administration does indeed deny claims based on Compassionate Allowances listings. This is usually due to a poorly prepared disability application or a lack of knowledge on the part of the adjudicator reviewing the disability claim.

In order to increase your chances of obtaining a quick and hassle-free approval of your disability benefits, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified disability advocate or attorney. Your Social Security attorney or advocate will work with you to ensure that your application is presented properly and that the adjudicator reviewing your file understands how your condition qualifies for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.