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Primary Effusion Lymphoma and Social Security Disability

Certain disability medical conditions, such as HIV infection and AIDS, carry an especially strong stigma that makes it difficult to receive the support and assistance that sufferers need to survive, while at the same time requiring the greatest support and medical attention to keep its sufferers as healthy and comfortable as possible.

If you are a sufferer of HIV or a related illness, your condition will eventually render you unable to maintain employment, and you may find it necessary to file for Social Security Disability benefits to be able to afford your medical treatments and routine expenses. When your prognosis is grim, it can be disheartening to face the statistics of applying for disability status. Over half of all initial applicants are refused benefits, forcing them to appeal the decision and wait for a hearing, a step which can take up to a year in some cases.

When a person’s health is being ravaged by a deadly illness, they can’t afford to wait years or even months to receive disability benefits. Thankfully, the Compassionate Allowance program created by the SSA in 2008 provides for over 113 diseases and conditions to qualify for faster processing. These diseases, which extensive research has established to be the most rare and severely disabling, automatically qualify an applicant for disability benefits and condense the determination process to as little as two weeks.

Primary Effusion Lymphoma – Conditions & Symptoms

Primary Effusion Lymphoma was added to the list of Compassionate Allowances in 2011, recognizing it as an extremely disabling condition. As with other lymphomas, caused by immune dysfunctions of lymphatic system involving the overproduction of B-lymphocytes, Primary Effusion Lymphoma is a highly aggressive form of cancer.

Primary Effusion Lymphoma is almost always caused by contracting the human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8), also known as KSHV, Kaposi-sarcoma herpes virus, and usually appears in the later stages of these viruses’ destruction of the immune system, and in those who have AIDS. The difference between this type of lymphoma and others is the location. Primary Effusion Lymphoma appears within body cavities, resulting in extreme fluid retention. The body cavities which are most affected by PEL are the pleural cavities surrounding the lungs, the pericardium, surrounding the heart, and the cavities around abdominal organs.

The most recognizable symptom of PEL is swelling around the lungs, heart, or abdominal cavity due to fluid buildup. This can make it difficult to breathe, cause tightness in the chest, and ultimately lead to the failure of internal organs.

Unlike some of the other forms of lymphoma and other cancers, primary effusion lymphoma is hardly affected by chemotherapy or other prescribed cancer treatments.

Since it is associated with immune deficiencies seen in conjunction with HIV, HHV-8 and AIDS, its progress may be hindered by immune-boosting therapies commonly used for their treatment, such as HAART (Highly Active Anti retro-viral Therapy). Stem cell transplants are another possible treatment.

If not treated, primary effusion lymphoma can be deadly within a few months. Even with treatment, the prognosis for this type of lymphoma is grim, guaranteeing no more than about 6 months of life after its diagnosis, depending on the stage of the conditions caused by the patient’s immune deficiency.

Filing for Social Security Disability with a Primary Effusion Lymphoma Diagnosis

If you have received a primary effusion lymphoma diagnosis, it is extremely important to file for Social Security Disability as soon as possible. The faster you apply, the sooner your disability status will be determined so you can receive the help you need to fight this deadly disease.

Because primary effusion lymphoma is listed in the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances, it is evaluated differently than other Blue Book impairment listings. When you supply the required medical documentation verifying your diagnosis, your disability status is automatically granted, without the need for additional medical support or a second opinion.

The medical proof required for a primary effusion lymphoma diagnosis is as follows:

  • Cell examinations of samples of fluid removed from the infected body cavity, or
  • Biopsy of the PEL-infected body cavity’s lining
  • Medical records which verify the presence of HIV, HHV-8 or EBV
  • Any other supporting documentation of symptoms and imaging such as CT scans which identify the disease

With a solid primary effusion lymphoma diagnosis, your application for disability benefits will be electronically pulled for Compassionate Allowance processing, as long as you meet the basic SSDI qualifications.

Your Primary Effusion Lymphoma Disability Case

Life-threatening diseases such as primary effusion lymphoma are recognized by the SSA to be extremely disabling and deserving of immediate claims processing under Compassionate Allowances. With the uncertainty of your future health and longevity, Social Security Disability benefits will assist you with the necessary daily care and treatments your need to survive and live in comfort, one day at a time.

In many cases, finding a Social Security Disability lawyer to assist you in the application process can be an essential to making sure your highly qualifying case is presented to your greatest advantage and fastest relief. If you, or a loved one, are considering applying for disability benefits primary effusion lymphoma, consider contacting a qualified disability representative today.