Category Archives: Publication

Medically Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Lymphoma

 

If you have been diagnosed with lymphoma, there may be financial assistance available for you and your family. Under some circumstances, lymphoma clearly qualifies and your claim could be approved in as little as 10 days. For other applicants though, an approval for Social Security disability with lymphoma may be harder to achieve. Even if you must fight to get approved though, winning a disability case means you’ll receive monthly benefits that can help you stay afloat financially when your symptoms and treatment schedule, side effects, or complications stop you from bringing home a regular paycheck.

The Lymphoma Disability Listing

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has established severity level requirements that must be met before any applicant can medically qualify for benefits. These details are outlined in the SSA’s Blue Book, which is a manual that contains dozens of disability listings for “common” medical conditions.

The lymphoma listing appears in Section 13.05. Provided your medical records show at least one of the following, then you meet this listing and are therefore medically eligible for benefits:

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that is either resistant to treatment or returns following initial therapy
  • Indolent, non-Hodgkin’s that has been treated at least twice in a one-year period
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma that persists or returns within one-year of completing the first round of therapy
  • Lymphoma of the mantle cell form

You can additionally qualify under this listing if you have undergone a bone marrow or stem cell treatment. These therapies automatically medically qualify you for a period of no less than 12-months after the completion of the transplant procedure.

Medical Approval without Meeting the Disability Listing

Not all people that get benefits for lymphoma are able to meet or closely match the SSA’s disability listing. Some get approved under a medical vocational allowance (MVA) instead. To achieve this kind of medical approval, you must be able to show that you experience severe functional limitations that stop you from working entirely.

Functional limitations may include things like an inability to prepare food, maintain concentration, clean your home, run errands, or maintain balance, just as a few examples. The SSA examines these limitations to better understand the kinds of physical and mental challenges you face in completing typical job duties. If the SSA finds you cannot reasonably hold a job given the limitations you experience, then you can be approved for disability under an MVA.

Supporting Your Disability Claim with Medical Evidence

Whether you qualify through the Blue Book or an MVA, you’ll need appropriate medical records to support your claim. The SSA must see at least the following:

  • Evidence of a definitive diagnosis, like a biopsy or pathology report
  • Records of treatment, including the schedule, type, and results
  • A longitudinal report from your physician, explaining the diagnosis, progression, and prognosis

Your doctor is your partner in your treatment plan and in applying for disability. He or she can help you understand the SSA medical qualification requirements and the evidence they must see in order to approve your claim.

Applying for Benefits

There are two forms of benefits you could apply for: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is far and way the most commonly used form of disability benefits. So long as you’ve worked at least part-time throughout adulthood, you’ll almost certainly qualify for SSDI.

An application for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program can be completed at the local office or online. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) however, you must complete a personal interview. This may be done over the phone in some cases, by calling 1-800-772-1213. Interviews are more often conducted at the local office though, and typically require no appointment.

Submitted by: Disability Benefits Help

Cancer In The Work Place, setting it straight

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.By Jeffery Runyan; Stage IV NHL cancer survivor, Founder of the Burkitt’s Lymphoma Society.

“Who declared you disabled?” “You’re not disabled.” These are statements that have been said in my direction several times since I was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. As the Founder of a renowned Cancer Society, I find it my duty to educate people about Cancer’s effects on an individual and when a person has a disability related to cancer.

Cancer patient’s former and present can face challenges in life and one challenge, besides possible physical limitations, possible disfigurement or possible emotional distress a cancer survivor might face is a person’s perception of an individual in remission from cancer or of an individual whom is currently going through treatment for cancer. Don’t get me wrong, some people get it, but some people simply do not out of lack of understanding, or just plain ignorance.

I’m not going to address all the issues a person with cancer might face, but I will state that some people make it through virtually unscathed, some people don’t make it through at all, some people make it through and are left with side effects, it might be one or it might be a dozen. The point is, cancer effects people differently and it greatly depends on the type of cancer, the type of treatment, the stage, age, overall health and more. In fact it can be quite complicated on how someone may or may not be affected by cancer.

What would be my brief description of the world of cancer? Cancer is the uncontrolled division of cells in any part of the body. There are different types of cancer. There are slow growing cancers, there are fast growing cancers, there are intermittent growing cancers, there are skin cancers, lymphatic cancers, bone cancer, blood cancers, there are literally dozens of types of cancers and sub-types of a cancer. There are varying side effects, treatments, stages, outcomes and challenges, but what most cancer patients have, whether they like it or not is a disability. Why do most people with cancer past or present have a disability? For one a person has a disability, because they have or have had abnormal cell growth. The American with Disabilities Act, ADA for short, describes a disability as a “person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”

The ADA breaks this down further in the publication titled. “Questions & Answers about Cancer in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)”

“people who currently have cancer, or have cancer that is in remission, should easily be found to have a disability within the meaning of the first part of the ADA’s definition of disability because they are substantially limited in the major life activity of normal cell growth or would be so limited if cancer currently in remission was to recur. Similarly, individuals with a history of cancer will be covered under the second part of the definition of disability because they will have a record of an impairment that substantially limited a major life activity in the past. Finally, an individual is covered under the third (“regarded as”) prong of the definition of disability if an employer takes a prohibited action (for example, refuses to hire or terminates the individual) because of cancer or because the employer believes the individual has cancer.

You see, no one has to declare a person with such impairment past or present that meets the above definition to be disabled. They simply have a disability and the law has made that clear. These laws have been made, because people with cancer have been discriminated against, are discriminated against and face life challenges that people without cancer, that don’t have a similar disability simply do not face.

Best Regard’s

Jeff Runyan

References;
1. U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section A Guide to Disability Rights Laws July 2009
2. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ,Questions & Answers about Cancer in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Seven Years in Burkitts

Today is an anniversary for me of sorts, because on December 30th 2008, I was at work when I suddenly felt something strange. Not a touching feeling, but I felt a strange sensation, which later turned out to be Burkitt’s lymphoma. My life permanently changed from that date forward and there was no going back to the way things were. When the treatment was done I couldn’t feel anything from the knees and elbows down, I had near complete amnesia of things I knew before Cancer, I lost my health, my stamina, muscle mass, my life savings, and much more, but I have learned a few things about Burkitt’s lymphoma. I have learned how cancer effects people and how knowledge is empowerment and that has lead me on a path, a path to share with others. It’s to the point that if I don’t, someone else may not benefit and it matters, so I must.

Nearly seven years of studying Burkitt’s lymphoma and suffering from it and the treatments side effects, what have I learned? I have learned that diagnostic imaging isn’t always right. I have learned that time matters when its a matter of life or possible death. I have learned that when I get a biopsy for something that is questionable, that if at all possible and if it makes sense, I am getting the excisional biopsy.  I learned that side effects are plentiful. I have learned that not only can cancer rob you of your health, but it can rob you of social interactions and social functions.  I have learned that cancer can put you in financial crisis. I have learned a lot more, but what stands out the most is that when I was told that Burkitt’s is one of the good cancers, they were wrong. Not only because of my situation, but of others. I have seen many suffer. Burkitt’s has robbed parents of their children, robbed children of their parents, robbed people of their friends and has left people in pain, disfigured, and in hardship. Yes, I have learned that most of all Burkitt’s is not a good cancer, but Burkitts has put me on a path that I may have never gone down without cancer, that is at least one good thing.

Jeff Runyan
President/ Founder
Burkitt’s lymphoma Society