Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration

Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration is a very serious condition which can lead the sufferer to a life in which it is hard to do anything. The sufferer may be able to obtain payments through the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance Program more quickly than other applicants who are trying to obtain disability benefits. The Compassionate Allowance Program fast tracks disability benefit applications, often reducing the decision making time to days, or just a few weeks, rather than the more normal months it takes for other disabling conditions.

What is Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration?

Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration is a serious medical condition in which the body’s own immune system in the form of ‘killer’ T-Cells or T- lymphocytes seek out and destroy normal nerve cells in the brain’s cerebellum. The aggressive action of the T-cells is thought to be a response to the presence of a malignant cancer, of which symptoms have not yet materialized.

What is a Compassionate Allowance?

Compassionate allowances are exceptions to the normal process of assessing a disability benefit application. Compassionate allowances are typically made for certain conditions which are very serious and are usually fatal or unlikely to be satisfactorily remedied using the medical technology available. One of the conditions of the SSA’s disability benefits application process is that it must be shown that the applicant cannot return to work for at least the next 12 months after the date of the application. The approval of a compassionate allowance is due to recognition that the applicant’s condition is so severe that delays in approving starting benefits payments are not necessary.

Even though the application for disability benefits clearly seems to fit the parameters for Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration (PCD), there is still a need to compare the symptoms described by the application with the clinical evidence of PSD sufferers. PSD applicants must meet the criteria described by section 11.17 of the SSA’s Blue Book.

Compassionate Allowances automatically qualify for disability benefits. Read our top five things to know about them!

Medical Evidence for Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration

Medical evidence used to identify Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration by the SSA is both diagnostic and physical.

Diagnostic evidence involves examining scans and tests that have been performed and recorded of the effects of the deterioration in the patient’s cerebellum due to the damaging effects of the T-cells. Examples of diagnostic evidence are included below:

  • cerebellar eye signs;
  • computed tomography scans (CT);
  • fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography scan; and
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI);
  • positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET/CT);
  • various blood test panels.

Physical findings involve actual physical symptoms and effects of the degeneration of the cerebellum of the applicant. Examples of physical evidence include any combination of the following:

  • ataxia (loss of coordination);
  • blurred vision;
  • dizziness;
  • dysarthria (slurred speech);
  • dysphagia (difficulty swallowing);
  • nystagmus (dancing eyes);
  • speech difficulties.

Get Help With Your SSD Claim

Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration is a very severe disease that can prevent the sufferer from performing normal physical activity, unless the diagnosis results in more intensive monitoring and treatment. It may be an advantage to contact a disability benefits attorney to help with an application for disability benefits for PCD.

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