Compassionate Allowance - Gallbladder Cancer

One of the major historic downfalls of the Social Security disability system is that, for many years, people who were obviously disabled had to go through the same rigorous process before they could start receiving Social Security disability benefits which others had to go through. This process takes several months to complete, even in routine cases.

To address this discrepancy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) unveiled the Compassionate Allowance program in 2008. The purpose of the program is to identify certain types of medical or mental conditions which are by nature completely disabling and to expedite the application process for people who are suffering from these conditions. The goal is to have people with conditions which should automatically qualify approved at the initial stage within three to six weeks (instead of several months).

The original list of Compassionate Allowance listings included 80 conditions which are always accepted for Social Security disability purposes. Since the original list came out, eight more listings have been added and more are being considered. Most of the conditions which qualify for a compassionate allowance are terminal cancers, rare diseases, and progressive neurological diseases and syndromes.

The idea behind the program is that those who are not expected to live long, or to be able to make any attempt at working as a result of their condition should not have the additional burden of having to wait needlessly for their Social Security disability benefits to be approved. For those under the financial strain of not being able to work because of a disease or disability, this can be a godsend, allowing them to start receiving benefits within a month of applying for Social Security disability in most cases.

Gallbladder Cancer – Condition and Symptoms

Gallbladder cancer, simply put, is cancer which originates in the gallbladder and often spreads to the liver’s bile ducts. It starts in the inner tissue layer, spreading through the gallbladder and towards the biliary system. It is often first found inside or outside the liver. Depending on the type of gallbladder cancer, the tumor may also develop at the junction of the left and right bile ducts. American Indians and females have the highest risk factors for gallbladder cancer.

Typical symptoms of gallbladder cancer include any combination of abdominal lumps, vomiting, bloating, jaundice, fever, pain just above the stomach, and fever. Because there are few noticeable signs in the early stages of gallbladder cancer, and the fact that most of those signs also appear with much less serious medical problems, gallbladder cancer can be very difficult to diagnose. Often, the cancer is not discovered until the gallbladder is removed (often because of a different perceived problem). Because of this, gallbladder cancer is often undetected until it is in a relatively advanced stage

If gallbladder cancer is detected in its early stages, before it has a chance to spread, it can be removed surgically unless it originated in the bile ducts (in which case it is incurable). If the cancer has spread already, the best current medical practices can do is to treat and control the symptoms and other complications which arise as a result of the disease in an attempt to improve the quality of life.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Gallbladder Cancer

While nothing associated with gallbladder cancer can truly be termed good news, the fact that it qualifies you for a compassionate allowance at least assures you that you won’t have much hassle when it comes to receiving Social Security disability benefits. Because you qualify for a compassionate allowance, your Social Security disability claim should only take about a month from start to approval.

With that said, it’s critical to make sure all of the accompanying medical documentation is complete and has all of the information the SSA will need to approve your claim. In addition to filling out all forms completely and correctly, verify that your medical files contain the results of any biopsies or other tests which were used to determine that you have gallbladder cancer.

Your Gallbladder Cancer Social Security Disability Case

If you’re dealing with gallbladder cancer, the last thing you need is to have your Social Security disability claim tied up because of an error or a missing document. While there’s little doubt that you will be approved for Social Security disability benefits, the fact is that you need to start collecting them now. Fortunately, the SSA is actually on your side on this one.

The best way to make sure that there is nothing stopping your benefits from being approved for the compassionate allowance program is to have a Social Security disability attorney review your claim before you turn it in to the SSA. Your attorney will not get paid unless your claim is successful. If you receive benefits, your attorney will receive 25% of the back pay that is owed to you or $6,000, whichever is less.