Small Cell Lung Cancer and Social Security Disability

When someone is faced with a long term or permanent and life-threatening disability, the emotional burden is often compounded by the financial challenges related to the illness. In many instances, a person is unable to work due to the symptoms of the disability and the effects of the necessary medical treatments. The resulting lack of income can cause severe financial hardship, and many disabled workers find it impossible to make ends meet when this happens. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits are there to assist in situations like this.

Many Americans don't realize that obtaining disability benefits from the Social Security Administration is often a task that is easier said than done. The Social Security Administration receives millions of disability claims each year, of which only a small fraction is approved during the initial stage of the application process. The majority of disability applicants must undergo a lengthy and frustrating appeal process in order to obtain the benefits to which they may be entitled, and it can take some Social Security Disability applicants more than two years to complete this process.

For disability applicants who cannot endure such an extended waiting period prior to receiving benefit payments due to the severity of their disability, however, there is a way to obtain Social Security Disability benefits more quickly and without the need for an appeal. The fact of the matter is that the Social Security Administration has indeed recognized that some applicants do need faster approval of their disability claims, and in 2008 the SSA implemented the Compassionate Allowances initiative.

Under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, some disability applicants can obtain an approval of their Social Security Disability benefits in a matter of weeks. There are 88 conditions that qualify an applicant for processing under the Compassionate Allowances listings and Small Cell Lung Cancer is one of these conditions.

If you have been diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer, the following information will help you better understand the disability claim process and shed light on how you can improve your chances of obtaining a quick approval of your disability claim under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Small Cell Lung Cancer - Condition and Symptoms

Small Cell Lung Cancer, also referred to as SCLC, is an aggressive form of lung cancer that spreads more quickly than cases of non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. There are three different types of Small Cell Lung Cancer including combined small cell carcinoma, mixed small cell and large cell carcinomas, and small cell carcinomas (also referred to as oat cell cancer). The majority of Small Cell Lung Cancer cases are of the oat cell variety.

Small Cell Lung Cancer is not very common and only accounts for approximately 15 percent of all lung cancer cases. The majority of these cancer cases are due to cigarette smoke and the condition rarely occurs in those who have never smoked cigarettes.

This particular type of cancer normally begins in the bronchi of the lungs. These cells grow rapidly, creating large tumors that usually end up metastasizing to other areas of the body. It is not uncommon for Small Cell Lung Cancer to metastasize to a patient's brain, bones, or liver before the condition is diagnosed.

Although the symptoms of Small Cell Lung Cancer vary depending on the stage of the cancer, common symptoms include blood in the phlegm, pain in the chest, chronic cough, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, weight loss, wheezing, swelling of the face, fever, a hoarse voice, and difficulty swallowing.

Because Small Cell Lung Cancer has usually metastasized by the time it is diagnosed, surgery is usually not a treatment option. Instead, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are usually provided. In many cases, treatment is focused on making a patient as comfortable as possible due to the poor prognosis of the condition.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Small Cell Lung Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible. The symptoms of the condition and the effects of necessary treatment usually make it impossible for a patient to work, and disability benefits may help alleviate some of the financial burden caused by this.

When completing your disability application, make sure you provide complete answers to all of the questions asked on the disability claim forms. Be as detailed as possible when answering all questions to assure a quick and timely approval of your disability claim. Also make sure you include copies of your medical records including treatment histories, lab results, and written statements from your treating physicians. All of these things will support your claim for disability benefits.

Your Small Cell Lung Cancer Social Security Disability Case

Many of the individuals who file Social Security Disability claims based on a diagnosis of Small Cell Lung Cancer assume that their application will be automatically approved because their condition falls under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances listings. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.

While the Social Security Administration does not often deny disability claims based on Compassionate Allowances listings, it has been known to happen. A denial of a Compassionate Allowances claim is usually due to a lack of sufficient medical evidence, an improperly completed disability claim, or a lack of Compassionate Allowances knowledge on the part of the adjudicator reviewing the file. In order to prevent these things from interfering with the approval of your Social Security Disability application, you may want to retain the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate.

When you hire a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate, the professional you choose will work with you to complete your disability claim forms properly. He or she will also help you gather the medical evidence that will be needed to support your claim for benefits and ensure that your claim is submitted to the Social Security Administration in the best possible light. 

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