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Pancreatic Cancer and Social Security Disability

Of the millions of disability applications received each year by the Social Security Administration, as few as 30 percent are actually approved during the initial stage of the disability claim process. The remaining 70 percent of applicants who are denied Social Security Disability benefits must undergo the complex and exhaustive disability appeal process in order to obtain the disability benefits they need. Unfortunately, it can take a Social Security Disability applicant more than two years to complete the disability appeal process and to receive their first disability payment from the Social Security Administration.

Some Social Security Disability applicants are unable to wait such lengthy periods of time for disability benefits to begin. Individuals who are facing severe and life-threatening disabilities feel that they should not have to undergo the standard disability claim process in order to obtain the benefits they need. In 2008 the Social Security Administration took measures to address this fact and implemented the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, some Social Security Disability applicants can receive expedited claim processing and may be awarded disability benefits in just a few weeks instead of waiting months or years before benefits can begin. There are 88 conditions that qualify an applicant for processing under these guidelines. Pancreatic cancer is one of them. If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and are wondering how it will affect your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information will shed light on the disability claim process and how you can increase your chances of being approved for benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Pancreatic Cancer - Condition and Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the pancreatic organ. The pancreas is located behind the stomach and is responsible for creating enzymes that the body uses to absorb the foods that you eat. The pancreas is also responsible for creating hormones that are used by the body to control blood sugar, such as glucagon and insulin. When cancer develops in the pancreas, it prevents the organ from working properly.

There is no one single cause for pancreatic cancer, but there are certain risk factors that can increase an individual's chances of developing the condition. Obesity, smoking, age, genetics and gender all play a role in a patient's likelihood of developing the condition.

Pancreatic cancer is often referred to as a silent killer. This is due to the fact that individuals who develop this type of cancer do not usually display symptoms until the cancer has progressed. Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include upper abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice, dark urine, light stools, fatigue, weakness, vomiting, nausea, back pain, blood clots, depression, diarrhea and sleeping difficulties.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that this condition usually goes undiagnosed until it has spread, not many cases of pancreatic cancer can be removed with surgery. Many patients will need to undergo a pancreaticoduodenectomy to address the disease. Sometimes radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be used to treat pancreatic cancer. In most cases, treatment is not effective in the long term and 95 percent of the patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will not live longer than five years after diagnosis.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Pancreatic Cancer

A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer can be an emotionally overwhelming experience. The effects of the cancer and the necessary treatments can make it impossible for a person to maintain employment. Because of this, the Social Security Administration has included this diagnosis as one of the 88 conditions that qualify a disability claim for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

When submitting your Social Security Disability application, you will need to include as much medical evidence as possible with your disability claim. Try to obtain a complete copy of your medical records including treatment histories and lab results. Written statements from treating physicians can also help support your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

Your Pancreatic Cancer Social Security Disability Case

Many of the individuals who file Social Security Disability claims based on a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer assume that their claims will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While individuals who file Compassionate Allowances claims are more likely to be awarded benefits during the initial stage of the application process, there is a chance that your claim will be denied if you do not prepare your application properly or do not provide sufficient medical evidence. Be sure to check the status of your disability claim on a regular basis, as you will have to file an appeal within 60 days if you are denied benefits.

If you want to increase your chances of receiving disability benefits in a matter of weeks under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. These professionals can help you in the preparation of your disability claim and can ensure that your claim is submitted in such a way that it will be processed under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.