Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor and Disability

Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor and the Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances Program

In 2008 the Social Security Administration began the Compassionate Allowances program. The SSA realized that individuals who suffer from certain disabilities could not be expected to wait the standard waiting period for Social Security Disability benefits. The Compassionate Allowances program provides a solution to this problem—allowing some applicants to be approved for disability benefits in as little as 10 days. Initially there were only 50 conditions that qualified for Compassionate Allowances processing. That list has now been extended to include approximately 200 different disabling conditions.

Malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumor is now one of the conditions that can quality an individual for Compassionate Allowances processing.

Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Condition and Symptoms

A gastrointestinal stromal tumor is one of the most common types of mesenchyme tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. This type of tumor accounts for up to 3 percent of all gastrointestinal malignancies. The tumors are usually driven by mutations in the Kit gene or the PDGFRA gene. The tumor can occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, gallbladder, liver, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum and lining of the stomach.

Symptoms of a malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumor vary from case to case. They often depend on how far the cancer has progressed and where the tumor is located. Common symptoms associated with this type of cancer include:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • Possible intestinal obstruction
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • A mass in the abdomen area
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in vomit or the stool
  • Fatigue due to anemia

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

To qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program, you must provide the Social Security Administration with medical evidence that supports the severity of your condition. Lack of evidence may result in the delay of your approval or possibly even a denial of your Social Security Disability claim.

If you are applying for disability benefits with a malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumor, you must provide the SSA with:

  • A clinical history and examination that describes the diagnostic features of your impairment.
  • A pathology report that documents the type of tumor that has developed and the stage of the tumor.
  • Operative reports.
  • MRI results.
  • CT scan results.
  • Results from an abdominal endoscopy, enteroscopy or ultrasound.

The preferred course of treatment for a malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumor is a complete resection of the gastrointestinal system. If, however, the surgery has a limited effect and the cancer becomes recurrent or metastatic, drug therapy will be required and treatment will focus on addressing the symptoms of the cancer.

Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor and Your Social Security Disability Case

Although hiring legal representation is not required to apply for disability benefits, you are advised to do so. Statistics have shown that applicants who hire an attorney or advocate are more likely to be awarded disability benefits than those who do not.

While it is not common for a Compassionate Allowances application to be denied, it has been known to happen. These denials usually occur as a result of documentation errors or lack of necessary medical evidence. With the help of a disability attorney, you can avoid these complications. Your lawyer will work with you to ensure that forms are filled out properly and all necessary medical evidence is collected.

To learn more about applying for disability benefits due to a malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumor or to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability claim, click here

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