September - Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness Month

Leukemia and Lymphoma are two potentially devastating forms of cancer that can strike individuals of any age. Some forms of these two types of cancer fall under the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and therefore qualify for expedited claims processing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

However, even if you have a form of Leukemia or Lymphoma which does not qualify under the CAL program guidelines, you are likely still eligible for SSD benefits. You will simply need to apply for disability through the standard application process, which means you may be looking at a significant wait before a final determination is made on your eligibility to receive SSD and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), another cash benefit made available to disabled, low income workers.

CAL Program Conditions

The SSA’s CAL program facilitates expedited processing of claims for disability benefits filed under certain diagnoses. There are several forms of Leukemia and Lymphoma currently among the conditions that qualify for quicker review and approval of SSD benefits under the CAL program guidelines. The following forms are among those on the CAL conditions list:

The Disability Determination Services office automatically expedites the claims that appear in their office with a CAL qualified diagnosis, so you only need to submit the standard application for disability benefits and don’t need to process any special forms or other documents for proving your claim under the CAL program. You should realize however that medical documentation still plays a central role in the qualification for SSD benefits even with a CAL qualified diagnosis.

Ensure you place all of your medical records in your application for benefits and shorten your wait for benefits in the process. Seek legal help from a Social Security attorney familiar with the application process, if necessary, in order to gather the appropriate documentation and ensure your application is as complete and thorough as possible. You should also work closely with your physician in order to make your medical records and the physician statements in your application foolproof under SSA disability guidelines.

Applying for SSD Benefits without CAL Program Eligibility

If you have been diagnosed with a form of Leukemia or Lymphoma that is not among the CAL program qualified conditions list, you very likely still qualify for disability benefits. You will just need to wait a little longer for a determination on your eligibility.

Applying for disability benefits with any diagnosis is an involved and lengthy process. Most applicants wait six or more months for a decision on their eligibility and most are also initially denied and must file an appeal with the SSA as a result.

To increase your chances of being approved for benefits without further delays, you should make sure your application is as thorough as possible. Include all of your medical records, including lab tests and other diagnostic results, statements from your treating physicians, and complete records showing the appointments you’ve had, the treatments you’ve received and other details about your current condition. You should also include documentation of a definitive diagnosis and the recommended course of therapy or treatment for your condition.

Working with your physician is crucial when completing your application for SSD benefits. Seeking the help of an attorney familiar with handling Social Security disability claims with a diagnosis of Leukemia or Lymphoma is also recommended.