Bilateral Retinoblastoma and Social Security Disability

Millions of Americans apply for Social Security Disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) each year. In 2010 alone, the SSA received more than three million Social Security Disability applications, and reports indicate that only about 30 percent of disability applications are approved in the initial stage of the disability claim process. Individuals denied at this stage must go through a lengthy appeals process in order to receive the disability benefits to which they are entitled, a process that can take months (if not years) to complete.

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration recognizes the fact that for some applicants, waiting months or years for Social Security Disability benefits to be approved is not an option due to the severity of their disabling medical conditions. As a result, they have instituted the Compassionate Allowances program, which helps to expedite the Social Security Disability claims process for individuals suffering from one of 88 extremely severe disabilities.

One such disabling condition is Bilateral Retinoblastoma.

If your child is suffering from Bilateral Retinoblastoma and you are hoping to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, the following information will help you understand how the SSA reviews claims based on Bilateral Retinolblastoma and how the condition may be eligible for immediate approval under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program.

Bilateral Retinoblastoma - Condition and Symptoms

Bilateral Retinoblastoma is a highly-malignant cancer that develops during childhood. The average age of diagnosis for this condition is eleven months, with most cases being diagnosed by three years of age. When one child in a family is diagnosed with Bilateral Retinoblastoma, other children in the family are also at an increased risk of developing the same cancer. The bilateral form of retinoblastoma is a hereditary condition. Children who are born with it may pass the trait on to their children. Approximately 30 percent of retinoblastoma conditions are of the bilateral type.

When a child develops bilateral retinoblastoma, a malignant tumor forms on the retina of the eye. These tumors consist of small round cells that form into structures called rosettes. In some cases, very large tumors will have portions that break away from the main mass and these small fragments will remain suspended in the fluid within the eye. If not caught early, the cancer can spread into the eye tissue under the retina and, eventually, into the brain or the bone marrow of the patient who has developed this cancer.

When diagnosing bilateral retinoblastoma, a patient is usually examined while under anesthesia. The pupils of the eye are dilated and the doctor performs an evaluation of the size and number of tumors present. Bilateral retinoblastoma tumors can also be evaluated using MRI imaging and ultrasounds of the eyes. In many cases, studies of the patient's bone, bone marrow and spinal fluids are also performed. If a child is diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, they will be at an increased risk of developing other forms of cancer throughout the rest of their life.

Treatment for bilateral retinoblastoma varies depending on how far the cancer has progressed. In most cases of bilateral retinoblastoma, a patient will be given chemotherapy with focal treatment of the remaining tumors, such as laser therapy and freezing treatments. In severe cases, bone marrow transplants may also be required.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Bilateral Retinoblastoma

If you are filling an application for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of Bilateral Retinoblastoma, it is crucial that you provide the Social Security Administration with as much appropriate medical documentation as possible when submitting your disability claim. You will want to provide a complete medical history, including all medical records and written statements from treating physicians.

While a claim for disability benefits based on a diagnosis of Bilateral Retinoblastoma does qualify for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines, you will need to make sure that all necessary medical documentation is provided with your disability claim to prevent delays and to ensure that your claim is handled properly by the adjudicator who is reviewing your Social Security Disability case.

Your Bilateral Retinoblastoma Disability Case

Even though a Social Security Disability claim for Bilateral Retinoblastoma qualifies for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines, you may still want to retain the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate when submitting your claim to the Social Security Administration. This will ensure that your disability claim is handled properly and that your application is presented in the best light possible.

While it is not common, Compassionate Allowances claims are occasionally denied at the initial stage of the application process. This is usually due to a lack of sufficient medical evidence or a misunderstanding of Compassionate Allowances listings on the part of the adjudicator reviewing the claim. Having proper representation during the claim process will prevent any misunderstandings and will ensure that your claim is processed according to the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

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