Adults who have been diagnosed with fibrolamellar cancer may be able to obtain disability benefits through the Compassionate Allowance Program. The decision depends on an assessment by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but if approved may reduce the waiting time before disability payments commence.
Typically, disability benefits are not paid for at least six months or longer after an application for benefits is received by the SSA, but a compassionate allowance may take much less time, with the average waiting time reduced to 19 days.
What is Fibrolamellar Cancer?
Fibrolamellar cancer is a type of aggressive but relatively rare cancer that develops in the liver. It often develops in late adolescence or early adulthood and may be symptomless for some time before typical symptoms then start to emerge. The cause of fibrolamellar cancer is still not fully understood, although genetic factors, such as a mutation of a specific gene on chromosome 19, appear to be a common feature.
Unfortunately for sufferers, early symptoms are not unique to this type of cancer. They may include such things as:
- weight loss;
- loss of appetite;
- abdominal pain;
- palpable liver mass;
- nausea and/or vomiting.
Diagnosis of this cancer is made primarily by biopsy examination and evaluation of scans, including ultrasound, CT and MRI scans.
What is a Compassionate Allowance?
Applications for disability benefits are typically protracted and may take up to a year or more before an application is approved, especially if the applicant has had to appeal a decision to deny the application. Compassionate allowances are exceptions to these lengthy application times. Compassionate allowances are made when the evidence for the disabling condition clearly shows that the condition is very serious and the applicant may have limited time left to live.
The most common conditions which the SSA consider for a compassionate allowance include certain cancers like fibrolamellar cancer, brain disorders in adults and some rare disorders in children.
Like all other disability benefits assessments, the SSA evaluates the medical evidence for fibrolamellar cancer and compares it to the symptoms described for the disease in the Blue Book. A compassionate allowance may be approved if the criteria listed in section 13.19 of the Blue Book are met.
Medical Evidence for Fibrolamellar Cancer
The SSA’s examiners will assess the medical evidence for fibrolamellar cancer by looking primarily at the following:
- Medical history showing development of the disease through assessment of the typical early symptoms (appetite loss, abdominal pains; jaundice; malaise, migratory thrombophlebitis or venous thrombosis; nausea, etc.);
- MRI and CT scan reports, ultrasound results;
- Biopsy examination;
- Records showing treatment including surgery to remove tumors and resection of lymph node material.
Get Help With Your Fibrolamellar Cancer Claim
Fibrolamellar cancer is a very serious, aggressive form of liver cancer which can rapidly progress and may be untreatable or at the least reduce the likely lifespan of the sufferer significantly. The SSA includes fibrolamellar cancer on its list of conditions which may qualify for disability benefits through the compassionate allowance program. If you have been diagnosed with fibrolamellar cancer, you may find that a disability attorney can help you with your application or disability benefits.
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