Bone Marrow Transplant and Disability Benefits: What You Need to Know
There are a number of hematological disorders that are treated by bone marrow transplants. They include:
- Certain immuno-deficiency disorders
- Severe aplastic anemia
- Multiple myelomas
If you are awaiting or have recently undergone a bone marrow transplant, you have probably been unable to work for a while. The loss of income, combined with lack of medical insurance, can result in stress levels that impair your morale and recovery. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has disability benefits available to people whose disabling conditions prevent them from earning a living.
Medically Qualifying with a Bone Marrow Transplant
Bone marrow transplants are referenced in the Blue Book, a guide that the SSA uses to qualify applicants for disability benefits. According to Section F of Listing 7.00--Hematological Disorders, the SSA will consider you to be disabled for 12 months from the date of your bone marrow transplant. This period of disability may be longer if you experience any of the following serious post-transplant complications:
- Major deterioration of any organ systems
- Recurring infections after undergoing immunosuppressive therapy
- Graft-vs-host disease
The onset of your disability may be determined to be prior to the transplant if the medical evidence in your application supports such a conclusion. After 12 months have passed, the SSA will evaluate any residual impairment under an applicable Blue Book listing and determine whether to continue or terminate your benefits.
Your doctor must provide the following information when you make your application for disability benefits:
- A signed laboratory report of a definitive test confirming your original hematological disorder
- All treatments you have received
- Records of hospitalization due to hematological complications
- Documentation of any post-transplant complications you may have experienced.
Your doctor will also fill in a form that enables the SSA to assess your residual functional capacity (RFC). They use this information to evaluate the impact the bone marrow transplant has had on your ability to function.
Getting Help with Your Bone Marrow Transplant Claim
Approximately 70% of those who apply for SSA disability benefits are denied the first time around, even if they have a Blue Book listed condition, so don’t be discouraged if this happens to you. You should ask for reconsideration and even contact a Social Security disability attorney to help you file an appeal.
Like any process involving the government, getting professional assistance with your application will heighten your chance of approval. An attorney with experience in Social Security disability claims can guide you through the entire complex process and ensure that your original claim and any sequent appeals are properly prepared and submitted.
Once your claim is approved your attorney will make sure you receive the payments you’re entitled to, delivering peace of mind after a long and stressful illness.