Aplastic Anemia and Social Security Disability

Aplastic Anemia with Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplantation – Condition and Symptoms

Aplastic anemia is a serious, rare blood condition that is caused by the body’s failure to produce sufficient red blood cells. The disabling condition can develop in people of any age, and can either appear suddenly or can develop gradually, becoming worse over time. The most common and noticeable symptoms of aplastic anemia are a feeling of fatigue and a heightened risk of infections. The condition also commonly causes bleeding that is difficult to control.

Aplastic anemia is sometimes treatable with medication. More severe cases are treated with blood transfusions or stem cell transplants.

Other common symptoms of aplastic anemia include shortness of breath, especially after physical exertion or work, an irregular, rapid heartbeat, paleness of the skin, bruising (often unexplained), headaches, rashes, dizziness, bleeding gums, and frequent nose bleeds. In some cases, anemia lasts only briefly and is readily treatable. In more severe cases, it becomes chronic and requires a blood transfusion or stem cell transplantation. In the most severe cases, it can even be lethal.

There are several causes of aplastic anemia, the most common of which are:

  • Bone marrow diseases. Certain bone marrow diseases cause the body to slow or stop production of blood cells, leading to anemia.
  • Radiation Treatment. Cancer patients often require these treatments to kill cancerous cells. Unfortunately, the treatment also kills many healthy cells, including bone marrow stem cells.
  • Chemotherapy. Much like radiation, this treatment kills health bone marrow cells along with the cancerous cells it is used to destroy.
  • Toxic chemicals. Exposure to certain toxins, including many which are used in insecticides and other pesticides, has been shown to cause aplastic anemia. Additionally, benzene, one of the component chemicals in gasoline is believed to cause aplastic anemia. When anemia is caused by exposure to toxins, it will generally improve by itself if you stay away from the chemicals which triggered the condition.
  • Medication. Some prescriptions drugs can cause anemia as a side effect. These include some antibiotics and medications which are commonly used to treat arthritis.
  • Viral Infections. Infections like Epstein Barr, hepatitis (A, B or C), HIV and a number of others can affect the bone marrow and cause aplastic anemia.
  • Autoimmune disorders. These disorders cause your white blood cells to start attacking healthy cells instead of unhealthy ones and can sometimes affect bone marrow stem cells, which in turn may cause aplastic anemia.
  • Pregnancy. Sometimes pregnancies are accompanied by a disorder similar to autoimmune disorders that causes the immune system to attack healthy bone marrow and cause anemia.

In addition to the known causes of aplastic anemia, there are believed to be several unknown causes. In any case, there are any instances in which doctors are unable to nail down the exact cause of a patient’s aplastic anemia.

Filing for Disability with a Aplastic Anemia with Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplantion Diagnosis

Aplastic anemia is covered under Section 7.17 of the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the Social Security Administration’s manual that lists conditions which are commonly approved for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income and the criteria by which SSA adjudicators are to use in deciding whether or not to approve disability benefits.

Those who have received stem cell or bone marrow transplantation are evaluated as if they had received an organ transplant. Therefore, they are automatically considered disabled for one year. Afterwards, their condition must be monitored on a periodic basis (often every year or every three years) to determine whether their condition has improved enough to enable them to resume working at some type of gainful employment.

What this means, simply stated, is that you should have little issue qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits with this condition, but you will need to be re-examined periodically.

You will need to make sure that all blood test results and the results of all bone marrow biopsies are included in your medical file when you apply for Social Security Disability benefits and that the transplantation itself is part of the record. In most cases, that is sufficient to prove aplastic anemia and qualify for benefits, though you should be ready to provide any documentation the SSA requests.

Your Aplastic Anemia with Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplantation Disability Case

It may be tempting to think that you don’t need a Social Security Disability lawyer if you have aplastic anemia with bone marrow or stem cell transplantation because your condition meets the listing for disability. However, this is not always the case.

Many claims that should be approved are denied because paperwork is filed incorrectly, information is missing, or the medical files are incomplete. Done correctly, here should be no reason that any claim for a person who has had transplantation should be denied, but claims often aren’t put together correctly. This leads to serious delays in receiving your benefits.

Additionally, having a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate work with you now can be beneficial should you need to re-establish the fact that you are disabled when you are re-examined in the future. It’s always a good idea to have legal counsel who is already familiar with your case when you need to face the SSA.

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