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Sinonasal Cancer and Social Security Disability

Not long ago we lived in a world where all Social Security Disability claims were treated equally. Regardless of how severe the disability was or what the life expectancy of the applicant was, their disability claim was processed just like every other claim that the SSA received. This resulted in some applicants being awarded benefits after they had already passed away due to the extremely long processing times caused by a serious backlog of claims currently in the system. Fortunately the SSA changed all of this in 2008 when they rolled out the Compassionate Allowances program. Under this program, some applicants can qualify for disability benefits in as few as 10 days. When the program was first introduced, there were only 50 conditions that could qualify a claim for Compassionate Allowances processing. That number has increased to approximately 200 different conditions. Sinonasal cancer is now one of the conditions that qualify an applicant for Compassionate Allowances claim processing.

Sinonasal Condition and Symptoms

Sinonasal cancer is a very rare type of cancer. This particular type of cancer accounts for only 3 percent of tumors found in the upper respiratory tract. It is commonly caused by occupational or environmental exposure to certain substances, such as wood dust and certain heavy metals. The tumor’s proximity to vital structures such as the brain and internal carotid artery cause significant challenges in their treatment. Symptoms of this type of cancer can vary from case to case. Common symptoms associated with this type of cancer include:

  • Severe pain and numbness in the cheeks
  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive tearing
  • Bulges in the nose and/or cheek area
  • Loss of hearing
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Sinonasal Cancer

When you submit a claim for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of sinonasal cancer, you must provide sufficient medical evidence to the SSA in order to support your case. This medical evidence is needed in order for your case to be processed according to the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. In a case of sinonasal cancer, you must provide the SSA with:

  • Immunohistochemistry of biopsy report
  • MRI, CT or PET scans
  • Electron microscopy reports
  • Molecular biologic studies used to diagnose the condition
  • Operative reports
  • A clinical history and examination that describes the diagnostic features of the condition
  • A pathology report that documents the type and stage of the tumor

In almost all cases, the tumor has clinically advanced and is surgically unresectable by the time the cancer is diagnosed. As a result, treatment for this type of cancer involves multimodal therapy including surgical resection (if possible) and adjuvant therapy such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Sinonasal Cancer and Your Social Security Disability Case

You are not required to hire a disability lawyer in order to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Failing to do so, however, may be detrimental to your disability claim. While the SSA does not commonly deny disability claims that are based on a Compassionate Allowances listing, it has been known to happen. This is usually due to improperly completed claim forms or a lack of sufficient medical evidence.

If you work with a disability attorney, he or she can ensure that your claim forms are filled out properly. Your attorney will also know what medical evidence the SSA will need in order to approve your claim and can help you gather the necessary medical records. This will prevent a denial of your claim due to improperly completed forms or a lack of medical evidence.