April - National Asbestos Awareness Month

Submitted by Shane on

The US Senate recently passed a law which names the first week of April 2012 as National Asbestos Awareness Week. While April first through seventh is officially recognized by the US Congress, many recognize the entire month of April as a time to promote awareness and understanding of asbestos and the health conditions caused by prolonged exposure to it.

In a rare show of solidarity, the US Senate voted unanimously across party lines to establish National Asbestos Awareness Week. It is hoped that raising awareness of asbestos exposure will lead to better preventative measures to prevent future cases of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma and that greater awareness will prompt research into better treatments for mesothelioma.

As you may already be aware, asbestos was widely used in building and manufacturing trades until it was definitively linked to mesothelioma. While many trades caused exposure to asbestos, those who were involved in ship building were generally subject to the worst levels of exposure.

Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer which breaks down the linings of the heart, abdominal walls and (especially) the lungs. It also causes scar tissue to form inside these organs, making it more difficult to breathe and disrupting the flow of oxygen through the blood stream.

It is not uncommon for mesothelioma symptoms to take as long as 50 years to start showing after a person has been exposed to asbestos. Even when the symptoms do appear, they are often misdiagnosed in the early stages because the early symptoms are similar to less serious conditions.

Applying for SSD with Mesothelioma

If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, you are likely eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In fact, mesothelioma is one of those conditions with which it is fairly easy to be approved for Social Security disability benefits. According to the Blue Book, you need:

  • Medical documentation of malignant primary tumors of the mediastinum, which are not controlled by therapy, or
  • Medical documentation of malignant tumors which have spread (metastasized) to the pleura, or
  • Medical documentation of malignant Mesothelioma of (originating in) the pleura

In most cases, applying for Social Security disability benefits is fairly straight-forward. There is generally little question of eligibility once you have been diagnosed with the condition.

Compassionate Allowances

If you have been diagnosed with pleural or peritoneal Mesothelioma, you qualify for a Compassionate Allowance. Stated simply, the SSA recognizes that some conditions (such as pleural and/or peritoneal Mesothelioma) should automatically qualify people as disabled. This allows you to qualify for Social Security benefits simply based on the diagnosis itself and allows you to bypass much of the normal disability claims process.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for Social Security disability or the Compassionate Allowances program, it is in your best interests to see a Social Security disability attorney in your area. A Social Security disability lawyer can help you file your claim, making sure that everything is in proper order to ensure that your claim goes through and is approved quickly, as it should be.

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