Lymphoma – Condition and Symptoms
Lymphoma is a form of cancer which affects the lymphatic cells, which are part of the immune system. There are several types of lymphomas. Some are more treatable than others, but in many cases, even successful treatment can leave you disabled for significant periods while you recover from the side effects of the treatment.
There were originally two major categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Non-Hodgkins was further divided into sixteen different subtypes of the disease. However, with the discovery of different forms of lymphoma and greater understanding of the similarities and differences between them, lymphomas are now divided into four broad categories, and include 43 distinct diseases.
While it is beyond our scope to go into all of the differences of the 43 types of lymphoma here, some of the features common to all forms of lymphoma are that they are blood cancers which attack the body’s immune system. The exact types of cells which are attacked vary from one form of lymphoma to the next. In fact, much of the differentiation is based on this.
People with compromised immune systems (such as those with immunodeficiency disorders like HIV infection or side effects from certain medications) are at a greater risk of contracting lymphomas. Some forms of lymphoma are more likely to attack children, others are more likely to be seen in adults.
Symptoms vary widely depending on the type of lymphoma and what kinds of cells are being attacked. Likewise, treatment varies considerably. As with most other forms of cancer, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are all treatment options, depending on the type of lymphoma and its stage when it is discovered. Early detection is the key to successfully treating those forms of lymphoma which are treatable.
Filing for Disability with a Lymphoma Diagnosis
Depending on exactly which type of lymphoma you have and how severe your disabling condition is, there are different ways to go about filing for Social Security disability benefits.
If you have Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL), you qualify for a compassionate allowance, which will allow you to bypass most of the claims process. Basically, the SSA considers MCL to be so serious that everyone who has been diagnosed with it automatically qualifies for disability benefits with no need for further testing or questioning. People who qualify for compassionate allowances are often approved in less than a month, and start to receive their benefits much sooner than other claimants.
Other than MCL, the Social Security Administration divides lymphoma into three basic types in terms of the requirements for qualifying for disability benefits. Those are:
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Claimants with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma must continue to have recurrent lymphoma after having undergone antineoplastic therapy. To qualify, you must have more than one antineoplastic regimen inside of a one year period.
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, you qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you fail to achieve total remission, or if the disease recurs inside of one year of total remission.
- T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. When a claimant has this form of lymphoma, it is considered under the listing for leukemia, and qualifies for disability benefits for at least two years from the date of onset or one year from the date of transplantation, if it has already occurred. Whichever date is later is used.
Regardless of which type of lymphoma you have, you meet the listing for disability if you have had a stem cell or bone marrow transplantation. In this case, you qualify for at least one year of disability, after which time your condition will be reconsidered.
When you face reconsideration, the Social Security Administration will consider the lasting effects on your ability to find and perform gainful employment. In most cases, the SSA will continue to reconsider your claim every year or every three years, depending on your condition.
Your Lymphoma Disability Case
Whether you qualify for a compassionate allowance and only need help making sure that the paperwork is filed correctly or are on the borderline of meeting a listing condition and need someone who can stand in your corner and fight for your disability in the appeals process, a Social Security disability attorney can take a lot of the hassle out of filing for disability benefits.
Having a Social Security disability lawyer who is aware of your case is especially important down the road when you face redetermination. In the event that you are still disabled to the point that you can’t return to work, you may need someone to step in and present evidence that will convince an SSA adjudicator that this is the case.
Social Security disability lawyers only charge if you receive benefits, and their fee comes from a percentage of your back pay. Your ongoing benefits are not affected at all. To have a professional disability lawyer go over the details of your claim with you, fill out the request for a free evaluation.