Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Social Security Disability

When an individual is faced with an unexpected long-term, permanent, or life-threatening disability, the situation can become quickly overwhelming. Often the disability prevents the person from carrying on work activity, resulting in a loss of income. Without a way to earn money, the bills begin to pile up and medical expenses can make the situation quickly spiral out of control. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits are there to help hard-working Americans who are faced with this type of situation.

Each year millions of Americans apply for Social Security Disability benefits. A mere 30 percent of those applications are approved during the initial stage of the application process. The majority of Social Security Disability applicants must undergo a lengthy and extensive disability appeal process in order to obtain the benefits they need – a process that takes some individuals more than two years to complete.

In cases when a disability is so severe that an applicant cannot possibly wait long periods of time for disability benefits to begin, the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines can help. There are 88 different conditions that qualify a claim for expedited processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances listings. If you have been diagnosed with one of these 88 conditions, you may be able to obtain disability benefits in just a few short weeks rather than waiting months or years for a disability approval.

Inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer, or non-small cell lung cancer with metastases to or beyond the hilar nodes, are covered under one of the condition listings that qualifies for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, the following information will explain how you can increase your chances of having your disability benefits quickly approved under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program.

Is Non-Small Lung Cancer A Disability?

Non-small lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer. If it’s caught early and responds to treatment there is a good chance of survival, but those chances decrease significantly if the cancer isn’t diagnosed until it’s very advanced.

The treatments available for non-small cell lung cancer are debilitating and unpleasant and can make it impossible for anyone that is going through them to work.

Radiation, chemo, and other intense treatments are the only treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer and they may not be effective at fighting the cancer. That’s why non-small cell lung cancer is one of the 88 conditions that qualify for expedited benefit processing of Social Security disability claims.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - Condition and Symptoms

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer diagnosed. There are three different types of non-small cell lung cancer, including adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and large cell carcinomas. While non-small cell lung cancers do progress more slowly than other types of lung cancers, they can and do spread. Severe cases that are inoperable, unresectable, recurrent, or with metastases to or beyond the hilar nodes are the cases that qualify a disability applicant for claim processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

There is no one single cause for non-small cell lung cancer, although there are certain risk factors that can increase a person's chances of developing the condition. Smoking is one of the main risk factors. High levels of pollution and drinking water that contains arsenic can also increase an individuals' risk of developing the condition. Chemical exposure is also a risk factor and individuals who have been exposed to asbestos, chloride, formaldehyde, and other substances may have an increased risk of developing non-small cell lung cancer.

The symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms include chronic cough, trouble breathing, chest discomfort, wheezing, streaks of blood in mucus, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

When a patient is diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, the prognosis will depend on how far the cancer has spread at the time of diagnosis. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are commonly given to patients who have been diagnosed with the condition. Unfortunately, this particular type of cancer does not respond well to treatment and many patients choose to undergo clinical trials in hopes of improving treatment outcome.

What is the Compassionate Allowance Program?

The Compassionate Allowance program was created by the Social Security Administration to make sure that the people who are the sickest don’t have to wait the longest for benefits.

Anyone that has an illness that is on the Compassionate Allowance program list will have their claim processed faster than other people’ claims and will start receiving their benefits quickly.

The Social Security Administration knows that when people have a terminal illness or a serious medical illness that requires immediate intervention they shouldn’t have to worry about how they’re going to pay for medical treatment or keep their house.

When someone with non-small cell lung cancer files a claim for disability benefits they don’t need to apply to be in the Compassionate Allowance program.

As soon as their clam is filed it will get sorted by computer program and flagged. The flag let the Social Security Administration know that the claim should be processed quicker than other applications.

Because this process is automatic it’s very quick and once that claim is approved you can start getting benefits in just a couple of weeks.

By getting the money to people who are sick as quickly as possible the Social Security Administration helps keep people in their homes and seeing their doctor without getting buried by expenses when they can’t work.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer with metastases or inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible. It is important to understand, however, that even though this condition is one of the 88 that qualifies an applicant for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines, your claim may not be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration.

In order to increase your chances of a successful Social Security Disability determination, you need to properly complete the disability application and will need to provide the SSA with enough supporting medical evidence. Make sure that you provide complete and thorough answers to all of the questions on the application paperwork and submit copies of all of your medical records to the Social Security Administration to prevent any delay of your benefit approval. Written statements from your treating physicians can also help support your Social Security Disability claim.

How a Social Security Attorney Can Help You With Your Case

Even though it’s rare for someone with a medical condition that is on the Compassionate Allowance list to be denied Social Security benefits it does happen. Working with an attorney that specializes in Social Security disability claim cases can lower the chances that your initial claim will be denied.

Even if you have a condition that is on the Compassionate Allowance list if you don’t have the right medical documentation or fill out the claim incorrectly your application will be denied.

Working with an experienced Social Security attorney will help ensure that you have all the medical documentation that you need and that your claim forms are filled out correctly.

If you have applied for benefits before and you were denied a good attorney that has worked on Social Security disability benefit cases for a long time will be able to help you with your appeal so that there’s a great chance your appeal will be approved.

Your Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Social Security Disability Case

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits based on a diagnosis of one of the 88 conditions that are included in the Compassionate Allowances listings does increase your chance of obtaining an approval at the initial stage of the application process. It does not, however, guarantee an approval of your disability claim. Some Compassionate Allowances claims are denied by the SSA, usually due to a lack of medical evidence or an improperly submitted disability application.

If you would like to increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits without the need for an appeal, you should consider the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. These professionals can help you in the preparation of your disability claim and will ensure that your claim is processed according to the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.