Cancer of the Maxilla, Orbit, or Temporal Fossa and Disability Benefits: What You Need to Know
Cancer encompasses a broad range of diseases that see abnormal cells relentlessly divide and destroy healthy body tissue. This results in system-wide complications that in many cases ends in death.
Many cancerous tumors originate from or extend into the skull, and most cancer tumors can potentially qualify for Social Security disability benefits. They include:
- The maxilla (upper jaw) and maxillary sinuses, which are located beside the nose, within the cheek area.
- The orbit, or bony cavity containing the eyeball. Primary orbital tumors have a detrimental effect on visual function
- The infratemporal fossa, which contains nerves that deliver sensation to the face and control the muscles used for chewing
Tumors in these areas can cause severe headaches, facial pain or numbness, recurrent sinus problems, loss of vision or hearing, and other problems that impede your ability to work and earn a living. Money worries created by lost income and medical bills then add to the stress of dealing with cancer. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may award you SSDI benefits or SSI benefits to help with living and medical expenses.
Medically Qualifying with Cancer of the Maxilla, Orbit, or Temporal Fossa
Cancer of the Maxilla, Orbit, or Temporal Fossa is referenced in the Blue Book, the SSA catalogue of disabling conditions. Section 13.12--Cancer--Adult-Maxilla, Orbit, or Temporal Fossa indicates that the SSA will consider you disabled if you meet one of the following criteria:
- Any type of carcinoma or sarcoma that has spread to distant areas of the body
- Cancer that extends to the orbit, sinuses, meninges, or base of the skull.
When you apply for disability benefits, your doctor must submit documentation of the following:
- Physical examination notes
- Frequency, duration, and response to anti-cancer treatments
- Any post-therapeutic residual effects
- Pathology report and notes for any operative procedures
- Laboratory tests (including blood and urine analysis)
- X-rays, CT scan and /or MRI
If the cancer’s primary site can’t be identified, the SSA will need documentation about the areas where the cancer has spread to evaluate your condition.
Your doctor will also complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form that thoroughly documents the ways that your specific cancer has impacted your ability to function and work. The SSA uses this information to evaluate the degree of your disability and determine whether you are eligible for benefits.
Having a cancer in your head or neck region qualifies you for the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program. If your cancer is inoperable, unresectable and/or spread to distant regions of the body, you are eligible. This means that your disability application process will be processed more quickly, allowing you to start receiving benefits in a few weeks.
Should your symptoms not meet a Blue Book listing, the SSA will evaluate how they impair your ability to engage in daily activities or work. You may be awarded disability benefits under a medical vocational allowance system.
Getting Help with Your Cancer Claim
Most disability applicants are originally denied, even those with a Blue Book listed condition. Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney to assist you with your application is strongly recommended: he or she will ensure that your claim is correctly prepared and submitted and help you launch an appeal should you be refused the first time around. Experienced legal guidance can make the difference between receiving the benefits you need now as opposed to later.