On average, Social Security Disability applicants must wait three to four months to have an initial application for disability benefits processed by the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, the majority of these applicants are denied disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process. In fact, the Social Security Administration denies approximately 70 percent of the disability claims filed each year.
The applicants who are denied must then endure the lengthy and complicated Social Security Disability appeal process in order to obtain the disability benefits to which they may be entitled. To make matters worse, this disability appeal process can take some applicants more than two years to complete.
Because people who suffer from very severe or terminal disabilities are unable to wait months, let alone years, for their Social Security Disability claims to be approved, the Social Security Administration introduced the Compassionate Allowances program in 2008. Under the Compassionate Allowances initiative, some disability applicants are able to have their disability claim processed in a matter of weeks, rather than having to wait months or years before benefits can begin.
There are 88 severely disabling conditions that qualify for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, including inoperable and unresectable cases of kidney cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer, the following information can help you understand how the Social Security Administration processes disability claims based on this diagnosis. In addition, this information may provide you with some guidance as to how you can increase your chances for a quick and hassle-free approval of disability benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Kidney Cancer - Condition and Symptoms
Kidney cancer, also known as renal cell carcinoma, is a type of cancer that develops in the small tubules located in the kidney. The condition is rare, affecting only about 28,000 individuals each year.
While the exact cause of kidney cancer is unknown, there are certain risk factors that may increase an individual's chances of developing the condition. Dialysis treatments, genetics, family history of kidney cancer, high blood pressure, a horseshoe-shaped kidney, smoking, and Von Hippel-Lindau disease are all risk factors associated with kidney cancer.
The symptoms of kidney cancer can vary somewhat from case to case, but common symptoms of the condition include abdominal pain, back pain, blood in the urine, vein enlargement around the testicles, flank pain, abdominal swelling, weight loss, constipation, an intolerance of cold, excessive hair growth, and vision abnormalities.
Kidney cancer spreads easily, so it is not uncommon for a case of kidney cancer to spread to the lungs and other vital organs of the body. Because kidney cancer is so seldom discovered early, it will have already spread to other parts of the body in about one third of diagnoses.
If a doctor suspects that a patient has developed kidney cancer, a number of tests may be conducted to diagnose the condition. Common tests for kidney cancer include abdominal CT scans, blood tests, liver function tests, renal arteriography, abdominal ultrasounds, and urinalysis.
When kidney cancer is diagnosed, surgery to remove all or a part of the kidney is usually recommended. Hormone treatments may also be administered to reduce the growth of the tumors. Unfortunately, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are not usually effective in treating this type of cancer.
In cases of kidney cancer that are unresectable or inoperable, treatment usually focuses on making the patient as comfortable as possible. Such cases are the ones that qualify an applicant for expedited claim processing under the Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Inoperable or Unresectable Kidney Cancer
Being diagnosed with inoperable or unresectable kidney cancer can be a devastating experience. Many of the patients who develop this condition are unable to work due to the symptoms of the condition and the side effects of necessary treatments. The SSA has recognized this and has included inoperable and unresectable cases of kidney cancer among the 88 conditions that qualify for claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
When applying for Social Security Disability benefits based on a diagnosis of inoperable or unresectable kidney cancer, you will need to provide the Social Security Administration with as much evidence as possible in order to support your disability claim. Many applicants assume that a diagnosis itself will be enough to qualify them for disability benefits, but this is not necessarily the case. You will also need sufficient medical evidence to prove your disability to the SSA, including complete copies of your medical records, lab results, and written statements from treating physicians when filing your disability claim.
Your Inoperable or Unresectable Kidney Cancer Social Security Disability Case
Although inoperable or unresectable kidney cancer is one of the 88 conditions that qualifies a disability applicant for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines, this does not mean that your application for disability benefits will be automatically approved. While it is not common, there have been instances where Compassionate Allowances applicants have been denied benefits at the initial stage of the application process.
This is normally due to a lack of medical evidence, an improperly submitted disability claim, or a lack of knowledge on the part of the adjudicator reviewing the disability application. Because of this, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability advocate or attorney when filing a claim for disability benefits.
When you hire a disability attorney or advocate, he or she will work with you to gather the medical evidence that will be required to support your claim for disability benefits. They will also work with you to ensure that your application is prepared properly so that the adjudicator reviewing your file understands how it qualifies for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Is Kidney Disease A Disability?
If you suffer from kidney disease, you may not be able to work and earn a living. Even your daily activities may be affected by the condition and how it affects your life. Kidney disease may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Some forms of kidney disease will be approved for benefits just so long as you provide medical proof that confirms the diagnosis.
The Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program was created to offer faster claims approval for individuals who have serious life-threatening or terminal medical conditions. Among the conditions on the list that qualify is kidney disease that requires a kidney transplant. Renal failure, chronic kidney disease, and kidney transplant surgery all can qualify for disability benefits.
The SSA recognizes that chronic kidney disease can present challenges in daily living, medical expenses, functional limitations, and one’s ability to work and earn a living. There are standard disability listings for each of those three conditions – renal failure, chronic kidney disease, and kidney transplant surgery. Kidney disease has many levels of severity and multiple stages, and while some kidney conditions can be effectively treated with the progression slowed, others are more aggressive and more challenging to treat.
Kidney cancer is a serious condition, and it is a condition that is included on the compassionate allowances list. If the kidney cancer is either unresectable or inoperable, and you provide supporting medical evidence that indicates one or the other, then you can qualify for disability benefits through the CAL program. Even if you qualify through CAL, hard medical evidence is a necessity, so make sure you have everything in order and copies of all your medical records with a detailed list of healthcare providers in order.
Kidney Cancer and Compassionate Allowances
Just as indicated by the name, kidney cancer is a cancer of the kidney tissue. Usually, an individual with kidney cancer is older than 40 years of age. There isn’t a complete understanding of kidney cancer, but some experts believe that smoking and overuse of pain drugs are contributing factors to the condition. If kidney cancer cannot be successfully surgically removed, then it is inoperable. There will be a variety of tests, including scans and images, to determine if a successful surgical removal of the kidney cancer would be possible.
If a cancer is unresectable, it means that surgery was performed, and the cancerous tumors could not be completely removed. If your kidney cancer has been determined to be inoperable or unresectable, you will need to provide the supporting medical documents that indicate that and then file your disability claim. Often, kidney cancer is advanced before it is diagnosed because this kind of cancer usually has no noticeable symptoms in its early stages. As the cancer advances and grows, there could be persistent pain, anemia, weight loss, a lump, and bloody urine.
You will need to supply medical records that show you do have a diagnosis of kidney cancer and that your cancer is either inoperable or unresectable, so imaging and scans will be needed and you will need to provide any pathological reports and surgical records if they apply to your situation. The Disability Determination Services reviewer will need to be able to review your claim and determine that you do have a confirmed diagnosis and that your kidney cancer meets the criteria to qualify for disability benefits through the compassionate allowances program.
How Fast Is The Compassionate Allowances Claims Process?
When you file a disability claim, it could take months, or even longer than a year, to have a disability claim approved. It is not uncommon to have a claim denied on the initial review and then file an appeal. Often, the claim must reach the hearing level for it to be approved. It can take months for a hearing before an administrative law judge to take place.
The CAL program was started to provide faster claims approval to individuals suffering from serious illnesses. So, if you provide supporting documentation that confirms the diagnosis and that shows you qualify per the listing, your claim will be approved much more quickly.
As of 2018, the average processing time for a compassionate allowances (CAL) disability claim was 19 days. The program was enacted to ensure that those with a serious condition on the list has access to the medical care and disability benefits that they need during a trying time.
You will need to indicate that you have CAL claim on the form. Be sure that all questions are answered in detail and be sure to file all the supporting documentation along with your disability claim. The leading cause for claims being denied is a lack of hard medical evidence and the lack of supporting evidence and documentation. With the proper preparation and making sure your file is complete, you can improve your likelihood of having your claim approved. Don’t delay getting your disability claim underway if you suffer from kidney cancer.
How A Social Security Attorney Could Help With Your Claim For Kidney Cancer
If you are unable to work because of kidney cancer, you will want to get a disability claim underway. The SSA will require extensive supporting medical documentation so you can make sure that your claim is underway, and all paperwork is filed properly and promptly.
An attorney understands the claims process and is familiar with all the technical language that is used throughout the claims process. Your attorney will be able to review your medical records and make sure the proper documentation is included to support your claim.
Social Security Disability attorneys work on a contingency basis. That means that your lawyer will not get paid until your claim is approved. You will not have any out-of-pocket expenses or upfront costs. To share the details of your kidney cancer disability claim with an attorney who handles disability cases in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page.