Compassionate Allowance - Multicentric Castleman Disease

This year alone, the Social Security Administration is expected to receive more than three million claims for Social Security Disability benefits. The applicants who file these claims are usually living with significant financial stress. Without any way to earn a living or any way to pay their bills, finances soon become a serious issue. While Social Security Disability benefits were intended to help in situations such as these, in the past the disability claim process has been anything but timely.

The truth is that it will take most Social Security Disability applicants two years or more before they receive their first disability payment from the Social Security Administration. Because their disability prevents them from performing substantial gainful work activity, that means two years of living with no source of income. In some situations, waiting two years for benefits to begin is nearly impossible. That is where the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program comes into play.

In 2008 the Social Security Administration introduced the Compassionate Allowances processing guidelines. Under these guidelines, some Social Security Disability applicants may be approved for benefits in less than a month. Until recently there were only 88 conditions that could qualify a Social Security Disability applicant for claim processing under these guidelines. Now the SSA has added additional conditions in their Compassionate Allowances listings. Multicentric Castleman disease is one of the conditions that is included in this new list.

Multicentric Castleman Disease Condition and Symptoms

Multicentric Castleman disease is a variation of Castleman’s disease that attacks more than one particular group of lymph nodes. This disorder was first mentioned by Dr. Benjamin Castleman in the year 1956. In this variation, it is also known to affect different organs that contain lymphatic material as well. Twenty percent of the people who have this condition are at extremely high risk and will eventually develop lymphoma, which is a form of cancer. There are different treatments available for the condition which include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. However, even with treatment, prognosis is poor.

This particular condition is also known as angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia and giant lymph node hyperplasia. Castleman’s, in particular, is classified as a lymphoproliferative disorder which when broken down means, overgrowth of lymphatic cells. With the overgrowth of lymphatic cells, many may believe that this disease is a form or cancer but it is not. Medically this disorder is not considered a type of cancer but it has been associated with lymphoma. Since there are different forms of this disease, treatment does vary. This condition can be localized and be taken care of quickly, or may be more widespread throughout the body requiring different forms of treatment. Either way, if not handled properly, this disease can be fatal.

Conditions and Symptoms

With most cases of Castleman’s, one will find a single growth that is located on the neck, stomach or chest. It may be found where there are other lymph nodes but normally they are found in the above mentioned areas first. People who suffer from this condition typically experience many other serious infections as well as: nerve damage that may cause numbness and weakness, night sweats, fatigue, and weight loss. A series of blood tests may also find that people with Multicentric Castleman’s to be anemic and have very high levels of antibodies in their blood. Anemia is from low levels of iron inside of the body which can be caused various ways. This disabling medical condition is known to greatly weaken ones immune system which in turn makes it difficult for the body to fight off any infection. People are also known to experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and have an enlarged spleen and liver. This particular disorder can be fatal.

Causes of Multicentric Castleman Disease

Scientists are unable to pinpoint exactly what cause Castleman’s disease but they do know that the herpes virus 8 is linked to it. This particular virus is also linked to the condition known as Kaposi’s sarcoma which is a cancerous tumor located in the blood vessel walls. It has also been found that people that are HIV positive are far more likely to suffer from both Castleman’s disease and Karposi’s sarcoma.

It is believed that the malfunctioning immune system and the fast cell reproduction is a leading cause. Naturally the immune system produces a protein called interleukin-6 which leads to overgrowth in lymphatic cells. If one notices an enlarged lymph node around their collarbone, groin, underarms or neck – it is suggested to talk to a doctor. Other symptoms include unexplained weight loss, fever, fatigue, or a sense of fullness in the chest or abdomen.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Multicentric Castleman Disease

If you or have been diagnosed with Multicentric Castleman disease, it is important that you understand that even though the condition is listed under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances listings, it does not automatically mean that you will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. You have to make sure that you fill out your claim forms properly if you hope to obtain a hassle-free approval of your Social Security Disability claim.

When filling out the Social Security Disability paperwork, make sure that you provide as much medical documentation as possible including lab results with medical imaging, treatment histories and written statements from treating physicians. All of these things will help support your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

You also have to make sure that you fill out the answers that are on the disability claim forms completely and with as much detail as possible. This will help the adjudicator who is reviewing your file understand the severity of your condition and how it qualifies you for disability benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Multicentric Castleman Disease and Your Social Security Disability Case

Many of the people file for SSI or SSDI which are based on a Compassionate Allowances listing assume that their claim will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration. It is important to understand that this is not always the case. While the SSA does not deny Compassionate Allowances claims frequently, it has been known to happen on occasion.

In some cases, a person filing a claim that is based on a Compassionate Allowances listing will not fill out their claim forms properly or will not provide sufficient medical evidence to meet the SSA's published guidelines. When this occurs, the applicant must pursue the disability appeal process in order to obtain the benefits that they are entitled to. To prevent the need for a disability appeal, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate.

When you work with a Social Security attorney, the professional you hire will help you with the preparation of your disability claim. They will also help you gather the evidence that will be needed to support your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowance listings or to find out whether or not you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of Multicentric Castleman disease, click here for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.