Childhood malignant brain stem gliomas are a rare condition that accounts for approximately 10 to 20 percent of all childhood brain tumors that are diagnosed. When a child is diagnosed with such a condition, it is not uncommon for one of the parents to leave the workplace in order to care for the needs of the child. This can place significant financial burden on the child’s family. Fortunately, in many cases, Social Security Disability benefits are able to help. While most of the applicants who file for disability benefits from the SSA are disabled working adults, some applications are filed on behalf of children with severely debilitating diseases, such as childhood malignant brain stem gliomas. The SSA has recognized the severity of this condition and has recently included it in the agency’s Compassionate Allowances program. This means a child who is suffering from such a condition may be approved for benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years before benefits begin. If your child has been diagnosed with childhood malignant brain stem gliomas, the following information will help you understand how your child may qualify for disability benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Malignant Brain Stem Gliomas (Childhood) Condition and Symptoms
Childhood brain stem gliomas come in two types including benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The malignant form of the disease is the type that is covered under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program.
When a child develops malignant brain stem glioma, malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the brain stem, the part of the brain connected to the spinal cord. This part of the brain is in charge of controlling the breathing, nerves and muscles, heart rate and other bodily functions.
The condition usually develops in children who are between five and ten years of age. This particular type of cancer tends to be very aggressive and difficult to treat. As such, prognosis is poor. If the tumor is located in the pons, the survival rate is usually 12 to 14 months after diagnosis.
A brain stem glioma occurs when the normal glial cells of the brain stem begin to mutate and grow out of control. These cells then form a mass, which is referred to as a tumor. If this tumor is malignant and develops during childhood, it is considered to be a childhood malignant brain stem glioma.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Malignant Brain Stem Gliomas (Childhood)
When a child is diagnosed with childhood malignant brain stem gliomas, it is not uncommon for one of the parents to have to stop working in order to attend to the needs of the child or for the family to incur added expense in order to care for the child’s needs. The SSA has recognized this fact and the condition is one of those listed in the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances listings. This means that children who are diagnosed with this condition may qualify for disability benefits from the SSA in as little as a few weeks.
In order to increase your child’s chances of receiving an approval of his or her disability claim, you need to ensure that you fill out the disability application forms properly. You must answer all questions in detail and be as specific as possible. Vague or incomplete answers will likely result in a delay or a denial of your disability claim.
In addition to properly filling out the disability claim paperwork, you must provide the SSA with enough medical evidence to support your case. This may include lab results, copies of imaging tests, medical records and written statements from treating physicians.
Malignant Brain Stem Gliomas (Childhood) and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you have a child who has been diagnosed with malignant brain stem gliomas and you wish to obtain disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, you may want to consider retaining the services of a disability attorney. By working with a disability attorney you can ensure that your disability claim forms are properly filled out and that you have enough objective medical evidence to support your claim for benefits. In addition, a disability lawyer can ensure that your claim is filed properly so that the adjudicator who reviews the file will understand how your child’s claim qualifies for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
If, for some reason, your initial claim is denied by the Social Security Administration, you will need to file an appeal. If this happens, you will want the help of an attorney to guide you through the appeal process. Compassionate Allowances appeals are given priority over standard appeals and, therefore, are processed more quickly. With the help of an attorney, you can ensure that your child’s appeal is handled according to the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances guidelines.