In any given year, the Social Security Administration deals with several million claims for Social Security Disability benefits. Often, those applying for benefits due to their own disabilities or their children’s debilitating conditions face an uphill climb through the claims and appeals process that can take anywhere from three months to several years.
While the Social Security Disability system is set up to provide income for those who are dealing with a disability (whether their own or their children’s) that makes it impossible to continue with gainful employment, the sheer case load makes it impossible for Social Security adjudicators to deal with most Social Security cases any faster than they do.
In 2008, a long standing problem was finally addressed. That problem was how to help people with the most serious and most debalitating conditions get through the claims process faster and more efficiently. The solution was to put together a list of conditions that automatically qualify those who have them for Social Security Disability.
When the list of Compassionate Allowances was first released, it included 80 disabling conditions. Most of them were rare forms of cancer, progressive neurological diseases which involved dementia and various psychoses. The list has since been expanded to 88 conditions, and is currently being reviewed to consider other conditions that aren’t on the Compassionate Allowances list yet.
Those who have a condition listed as acceptable for a Compassionate Allowance are automatically flagged by the Social Security Administration and are reviewed sooner than other types of Social Security Disability cases. Because these conditions automatically qualify for Social Security Disability, the adjudicator does not need to concern himself with residual functioning capacity (i.e., if you can still work). They simply needs to substantiate that you or your child have the condition listed.
Bilateral Retinoblastoma- Condition and Symptoms
One such condition on the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances listing is Bilateral Retinoblastoma. Bilateral Retinoblastoma is a condition that affects children under six years old, causing malignant tumors in both eyes. These tumors can spread into the optic nerve system and from there into the brain, bones, and lungs.
The most common noticeable symptoms of Bilateral Retinoblastoma are misalignment of the eyes (they often appear to be crossed), pain and redness of the eyes, glaucoma, and the whitening of the child’s pupils. In diagnosing Bilateral Retinoblastoma, doctors examine the eyes with dilated pupils. They may also conduct a CT scan or MRI. This helps them determine if tumors are present and, if so, where they are located. An ultrasound of the eyes (head and eye EEG) is also performed in some cases.
The degree to which bilateral retinoblastoma can be treated depends largely on the location of the tumors. When treatment is possible, it generally includes laser surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or removal of the eyes. When tumors have spread to the brain, the condition almost certainly ends in death. Even in cases where bilateral retinoblastoma is treatable, the treatment usually ends in permanent blindness for the child, which qualifies him for continuing Social Security Disability benefits.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Bilateral Retinoblastoma
If one of your children has been diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, you undoubtedly are going through a great deal of trauma and uncertainty as you try to figure out how to best help your child. The last thing you need are added delays or uncertainty regarding your Social Security Disability claim.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration agrees with you. That’s the reason the Compassionate Allowances were started in the first place. However, it is imperative that all of your paperwork, including both the medical records and the claims forms themselves, be completred in order when you turn them in. If they aren’t, delays could result.
While there’s nothing wrong with filling out your own claim forms, the best way to make sure that everything is done correctly the first time is to have a Social Security Disability lawyer work with you on your claim. Social Security Disability attorneys are used to navigating the SSA system, and know how to make sure that your disability claim has everything it needs to be accepted and placed in the Compassionate Allowances listing.
Your Bilateral Retinoblastoma Social Security Disability Case
Your Social Security Disability attorney won’t cost you anything up front, but they can potentially save you a great deal of money and even more headache when it comes to making sure that you get all of the benefit payments that are coming to you from the Social Security Disability benefits system.
For more information regarding Social Security Disability, the Compassionate Allowances listing for Bilateral Retinoblastoma, or any other questions you may have about your Social Security Disability case, submit a request for a free evaluation of your disability case now.