Compassionate Allowance - Angiosarcoma

A rare and aggressive form of cancer that develops in the soft tissues of blood and lymph vessel walls and lymph nodes, Angiosarcoma can affect any area of the body. Tumors most often appear in the breasts and skin but are common in the spleen, liver, and other deep tissues. Metastatic tumors are often present at the time of diagnosis.

Even when surgical removal of the primary tumor is successful, the prognosis is generally poor. Metastatic tumors are common and the disease is often in its more advanced stages at the time of diagnosis.

Regardless of the grade and stage of the tumor(s), Angiosarcoma qualifies for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program.

Disability Benefit Programs

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available through two separate programs:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

With angiosarcoma, you may qualify for either or both of these programs.

SSI requires very limited income and other financial resources to pay for your everyday needs. Even with strict financial thresholds set though, many disabled individuals qualify for this program.

SSDI requires that you worked and paid into the SSD fund through federal taxes. Those taxes are typically deducted from your paycheck by an employer, so most people with work history prior to becoming disabled are able to qualify for SSDI.

In addition to these financial and work requirements, SSD benefits also require you meet the medical eligibility criteria for each program. Angiosarcoma is automatically medically qualified, though you must still complete the application process and provide appropriate medical records for approval.

Compassionate Allowances

Angiosarcoma is also among the SSA’s “compassionate allowances” (CAL) list of disabilities. CAL designation ensures an application is reviewed more quickly and that achieving approval for benefits is simpler. Early and advanced stage angiosarcoma qualify under CAL.

Required Medical Evidence for Angiosarcoma

The SSA utilizes a manual known as the Blue Book to evaluate disability claims. As a soft tissue sarcoma, Angiosarcoma appears in the manual under Sections 13.03 and 13.04 (for adults) and 113.03 (for children).

Minimal medical evidence is necessary because of the CAL designation, but thorough medical records ensure a faster approval. Be sure to submit copies of as many of your medical records as possible along with the application for benefits.

While the SSA may still consult the Blue Book listings referenced above, the medical documentation necessary for getting benefits with a CAL condition is less extensive. The following key pieces of information are usually all that is required:

  • A thorough clinical history, including examination notes which describe the diagnostic features
  • A biopsy report, confirming the diagnosis
  • The results of imaging scans, documenting the location and size of tumors

CAL applications take a relatively short time to go through the SSA’s review compared to standard disability applications. Even so, the SSA may request additional information from you if there are not enough details in your application and medical records.

Submitting an Application

Although CAL designation virtually ensures an approval for benefits, navigating the SSD application process and completing all the required forms can be challenging without help. You can get assistance by applying in person at your local SSA office. If you’re applying for SSI, the application must be done through an interview at the local office anyway. Schedule your appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213.

SSDI applications can be filled out and submitted on the SSA’s website. You can have a family member, friend, or advocate or attorney help you throughout the process. If you apply for SSDI online, ensure you drop off or forward copies of your medical records via mail or fax to the local SSA office just after submitting your claim. They’ll need that documentation and providing copies as soon as possible may help speed up your claim.