Trabecular cancer is a very rare form which typically affects the tissues just beneath the surface of the skin, particularly in areas commonly exposed to the sun. This specific form of cancer is most prevalent in older patients and in those with compromised immune systems.
Trabecular cancer is also known as Merkel cell cancer or carcinoma, and is a condition which the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes as potentially disabling and therefore prospectively eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. That is, provided appropriate medical documentation and other records are present in the application for benefits.
Applying for SSD with Trabecular Cancer
The SSA must determine the stage of your trabecular cancer in order to make a decision on your eligibility for SSD benefits. If your condition is in the early stages, but still presents you with significant impairments, then you may qualify for disability benefits under the listing criteria for Section 13.03 – Neoplastic Diseases-Malignant - Skin.
To meet the listing requirements for this section, your medical documentation must show that your disease has recurred even after surgical removal of the initial lesions. It must also show that even after undergoing appropriate therapies, like radiation and chemotherapy, the disease has returned.
If your trabecular cancer is in more advanced stages, especially if it has spread or metastasized to other areas of the skin or body, then you can qualify for disability benefits under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances Program (CAL).
Trabecular Cancer as a Compassionate Allowance
The CAL program provides alternative methods for reviewing and processing claims for certain conditions. Merkel Cell Carcinoma with metastases is now among the conditions that are approved for expedited review and processing as part of the CAL program.
While CAL guidelines provide for faster review and approval of disability benefits, you must still include substantial documentation in your claim for benefits based on trabecular cancer. Your medical records are a big part of the necessary documentation, and should include:
- A formal diagnosis made by a qualified medical practitioner (physician)
- The frequency and duration of symptoms, and overall length of the illness
- The persistence of symptoms even after undergoing appropriate therapies, including surgery, prescription drugs, and cancer therapies like radiation treatments
- Statements from your physician detailing your overall condition and prognosis, as well as the manner in which your disease affects your everyday life and ability to work
Medical records and other documentation are a crucial component of your application for SSD benefits whether you qualify under the CAL program or under standard SSD guidelines. Your records should include information that supports your diagnosis, as well as documentation that reflects your symptoms, treatments, and lasting impairment. The documentation contained in your application should include, but is not limited to:
- Diagnostic tests, like skin biopsies and imagining tests to prove the diagnosis and show if the disease has spread to other areas of the body
- Medications you currently take or have taken in the past, including their affect on your symptoms and overall condition
- Other therapies that you’ve undergone, like radiation or chemotherapy, including the schedule, duration and affects of treatments on your medical condition and overall functional capacity
- Notes from your doctors detailing findings from physical examinations and other appointments
- Statements from your primary care doctor(s) detailing your condition, symptoms, outlook and overall status
Getting Help with Your Trabecular Cancer SSD Application
Because trabecular cancer can qualify for SSD benefits in multiple ways, you’ll need to work in coordination with your doctor to ensure your documentation satisfies one of the two listing requirements for eligibility. Doing so will shorten your wait for benefits and ease the financial burdens you face while dealing with your illness.
Additionally, as expedited approval of SSD benefits is your goal, you’ll want to work with a Social Security advocate or attorney as well. He or she can help you put together your initial application, collect the appropriate documentation for supporting your claim, and can help you through any additional reviews or requests for information the SSA may present to you.