Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma and Disability Benefits

Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma is a very serious disability as sufferers have not responded to treatment and their health may deteriorate quickly. Normally it takes several months for the SSA to approve disability payments which can help to alleviate the patient’s suffering, but in the case of Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma it may approve payments quickly through the compassionate allowance program.

What is Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the blood, circulatory and lymphatic system. Unless the cancer can be treated, it leads to increasing inability for the lymphatic system to play a part in the body’s immune responses, i.e. ward off and deal with infectious diseases.

There are two forms of lymphoma - Hodgkin and non Hodgkin lymphoma. Recent advances have seen improvements in treating Hodgkin lymphoma, but some people experience Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma, which means that they do not respond to treatment. Relapsed Hodgkin Lymphoma is treated similarly by the SSA and is when the sufferer relapses, i.e. treatment fails at some later point. Other treatment methods may be tried, but while existing treatments do not have any effect, the lymphoma has an opportunity to progress.

What is a Compassionate Allowance?

The compassionate allowance program is an option the SSA has to speed up the process of approving disability benefits. In many cases, compassionate allowances can begin within days rather than the months for a standard disability benefits application.

Compassionate allowances are only used for the most serious, life threatening conditions. In many cases, treatment options are limited or impossible, and the applicant may only have a limited time left to live.

For a compassionate allowance to be approved, it must be shown that the applicant has Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma, i.e. that symptoms and medical history match the criteria in the SSA’s Blue Book listing under section 13.00-NeoplasticDiseases-Malignant-Adult, more specifically section 13.05 B or C.

Medical Evidence for Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma

Evidence that is needed for a decision to approve disability benefits payments to proceed under the compassionate allowance program includes:

  • Evidence showing the development and progression of classical Hodgkins lymphoma symptoms, such as painful swelling of the lymph nodes, fever, night sweating, loss of weight, persistent tiredness, painful lymph nodes after drinking alcoholic beverages, severe itching;
  • Evidence of the development of giant lymph cells known as Reed-Sternberg cells;
  • Evidence of treatment pursued, including an assessment made by medical providers that treatment has not shown any effective improvement in the cancer to date and prognosis for improvement in the near future is poor.

Get Help With Your Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma Claim

Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma is a very serious condition as the patient’s cancer is likely to progress in the absence of any effective treatment. An application for disability benefits for Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma may meet the criteria for a compassionate allowance. This can drastically reduce the time before disability benefits are awarded and payments are made. It can be challenging to apply for disability benefits so it may be advisable to use a disability lawyer to help you with your claim.

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