In an effort to expedite the claims and appeals process for people who have conditions which are always disabling or fatal, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has developed a set of listings called Compassionate Allowances. These listings include 88 conditions which always qualify for disability benefits.
Because these conditions always qualify, there is no real need for applicants to go through the elongated application process most claimants are subjected to. Using this system, the SSA has been able to reduce the average time to approve claims from almost a year to less than a month for those who have qualifying compassionate allowance claims.
If you qualify for a compassionate allowance, you don’t need to do anything extra on your claim other than make sure that all of the appropriate medical documentation is included. The SSA will flag your claim based on the diagnosis listed on your application and will approve you for a compassionate allowance if your medical documentation bears out the fact that you have a qualifying condition.
This program was initiated because many claimants with serious, terminal conditions may not have a year to wait for their benefits. Social Security disability benefits are intended to help the person with the disability, and they simply don’t achieve their purpose if they aren’t paid out until after you have passed away (although your dependents could still receive the benefits which were due to you).
Pleural Mesothelioma – Condition and Symptoms
Pleural Mesothelioma is one of the 88 conditions which qualifies for a Compassionate Allowance. It is a rare form of cancer which is most often associated with exposure to asbestos (though at least 20% of pleural mesothelioma patients have no known exposure). Men are at a higher risk than women, and risk increases with age for both genders. Often, the disease does not present itself for 30 or more years after initial exposure to asbestos.
The initial symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are chest pain and shortness of breath. Both are caused by the build up of fluid in the pleura (the thin tissue which wraps around your lungs and chest cavity). Unfortunately, it often takes a considerable time to rule out other causes of the symptoms before pleural mesothelioma is suspected. Those who are aware of exposure to asbestos would do well to be screened periodically for mesothelioma as early detection can improve the prognosis.
A variety of treatments are used for pleural mesothelioma, depending on where the tumor is, how large the tumor is, the extent of fluid in the chest cavity, what stage the cancer is in, and the patient’s health and age. Some of the more common options include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, or some combination of these three. Even when the disease is caught early, the prognosis is generally poor, though it is considerably better than after the cancer has spread (metastasized).
Filing for Social Security Disability with Pleural Mesothelioma
If you have been diagnosed with Pleural Mesothelioma, you qualify for a compassionate allowance. As long as everything in your claim and medical file are in order, the adjudicators should not need any further information to approve your claim, and you should start receiving Social Security disability benefits within a month of your filing date.
If, for any reason, your claim is not approved within a month, you should immediately contact the SSA and a Social Security disability lawyer. There’s no need for you to spend your time on this. A professional Social Security disability lawyer can get to the bottom of what’s holding your claim up and get it taken care of quickly and efficiently so you can concentrate on taking care of yourself and surviving.
Generally, the only medical documentation that is absolutely needed to qualify you for a compassionate allowance is the results of the biopsy which your doctor used to diagnose pleural mesothelioma. In most cases, your Social Security disability claim will be an open and shut case, and you will begin receiving benefits right away.
Your Pleural Mesothelioma Social Security Disability Case
Many people find that it gives them added peace of mind to have a Social Security disability lawyer handle their claim right from the beginning. Even though the end result of your claim isn’t in question, allowing a professional to handle the paperwork ensures that your claim will end up being flagged for a compassionate allowance.